Project: Easter Egg Post Box

My little boy is 18 months and I’m 31 weeks pregnant with number two, which leads to me feeling like a horrendous, exhausted parent most of the time. When we were kids (I’m the eldest of seven) my mother was forever doing craft activities with us, taking us on journeys of exploration, and we had a massive dressing up box and spent about 50% of our time playing imaginary games. This week I discovered The Imagination Tree, which is amazing. It’s basically just a huge font of projects and ideas and things to do with your kids, and I started making a Pinterest board which is pretty much just full of stuff from this awesome website!

Ben loves sorting and posting things at the moment, and he’s also a gigantic fan of Postman Pat so this morning, while making breakfast and staring at the box of recycling to be taken out, I had a brainwave, and we decided to turn one of the leftover Easter egg boxes into a postbox for him to play with. This is the first time he’s helped me with a craft activity involving sticking things, and we had a great time, which will just teach me, once again, not to assume he’s too young for stuff until we’ve tried it!

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Ben, trying out his undecorated box.

Firstly we found a box which didn’t have any holes in it apart from the one in the bottom, just the right size for posting things, and we taped up the top. Then we covered the box with red paper. This led to much hilarity with the glue, as Ben had some 5p coins he was posting into a moneybox and kept trying to stick them to the box…

covered boxThis is it covered in paper, with an extra strip added on by Ben, which was later secretly removed by his mother. Then came decorating, and I remembered my sticker drawer just in time! The choices were fairly random as it wasn’t particularly geared up towards kids crafts, and more towards card making, but we now have a list of stock for Ben’s craft cupboard which we’re going in search of this afternoon.

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The finished product

And the finished product! It took us about 30 mins in all which is not at all bad when you have an 18 month old in charge of stickers and colouring. Now I just have to find something to seal the edges with so they don’t immediately peel up. I don’t really want to sellotape them because it will look odd, so so far the only idea I have is to cover the whole thing in PVA glue. Can anybody suggest anything else?

 

 

 

 

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Current projects & impractical business expansion..

I’ve been much quieter than anticipated the past few weeks, and I apologise. Lots has been going on around here, firstly with a major laptop failure which ended in us not having a laptop at all for a couple of weeks, and then with pregnancy related things, but anyway! Here I am with a little update on what’s been going on in Bex world 🙂 

Firstly, I had my first sale on Folksy (woo!!). I started off on Etsy probably just under a year ago and love it. The community feel and the sheer amount of talent is amazing, and my sales picked up steadily over the Christmas period. It’s just nice to have it there and know that at any time, I could sell something. I looked at Folksy for a while before deciding to give it a go, and I’m still unsure about it if I’m honest. I like the way my shop looks more than on Etsy, but that’s about all I prefer. The site itself I find a lot more difficult to navigate and it’s much more difficult to find anybody – I feel much more isolated on Folksy than on Etsy. Still, it was nice to have a sale and know that people are at least seeing my work! 

Speaking of work, I seem to have an issue whereby I become super inspired to make loads of things for my business and take it in loads of different directions just when I’m about to have absolutely no time in which to do so! At the moment there are so many new ideas buzzing around my head and I really want to start focusing more on craft fairs and marketing in general, plus giving my whole brand a bit of an overhaul, but I’m 30 weeks pregnant and so most of that isn’t practical thinking at the moment! I guess I will just have to keep my ideas on the back burner and do little bits of what I can once we’ve settled into life with our new little one, all being well! 

I have been making lots of these though. Image

They are gorgeous hand knitted baby cot blankets. Unfortunately (or fortunately, really, but you know) I’ve had so many request for them that I’ve not yet been able to start on one for our own little bundle of awesomeness! I’m hoping to rectify that sometime in the next couple of weeks though, although if you do want one I can do them in any colour and you can order them here! And check out how much better the camera is on my new phone! I can’t get over how much crisper the image is 🙂

Finally, and speaking of Etsy team spirit, I’m participating in an ‘Etsy School’ event during May to help train us all to optimize our shops and businesses in general for search engines. If you’d like to take part you have to be part of a participating team, but there are loads of them all over the world! If you’re UK based and interested, this is my team and we’d love you to join us! We will be pairing up everybody who wants to join in so that they are working with a partner on the workbook and few weekly exercises given by Etsy, and then offering additional resources, support and advice in the team itself. I’m excited about it!

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Scones and UFOs

By which I mean unfinished objects, of course… I wanted to wait until I’d finished at least one of the two big projects I have on the go at the moment before posting, but then I looked at how long it had been since I last posted and decided that I am not going to let this blog go the way of the last craft blog I tried to keep, and thus, here I am, with my slightly wobbly pictures.

scones

We have made a few different buttermilk scone recipes, but found this one in this little Cupcakes and Muffins book which has been sat on our (ridiculously overflowing) recipe bookcase for a year or two. Having not eaten dinner yet, due to a failure to check the setting on the toaster leading to the burning of my tea cake, I just went to grab a scone expecting it to be quite crumbly, but this recipe unlike those we’ve previously used, has actually turned out really springy and just sweet enough without being too much. Because I’m a heathen, I just ate the scone as is, but I can imagine it would be brilliant with jam and clotted cream. Unfortunately this batch (minus the two I ate, obviously) is actually destined for my father in law, but I will definitely be making more!

This is my finished object, now for the unfinished ones…

bag

The light in my house is horrendous and the good camera is still lost in the vast expanses of my parents’ house, so you’ll have to forgive how totally impossible it is to see anything here. This is the Big Honkin’ Bag I’m working on at the moment, except that due to my failure to believe in the power of gauge combined with my desire to use a certain colour of Folksong that I had regardless of the fact that it wasn’t the right yarn for the pattern, and without adjusting the needle size, it’s not that big, but never mind. I’m enjoying the pattern so far so it won’t be a problem to knit another and have two!

I did check the gauge for my second UFO, and I’m pretty happy with how it’s turned out. I’ve made it big enough so that I can hopefully give it to my son when he turns 2 in October, but because it’s only my second ever attempt at sewing a jumper together, I’ve chickened out of showing you the body minus sleeves situation we have going on here, and instead have just taken a pretty picture of the lovely sheep square which buttons on to the front. The greatest thing about this pattern (which is Button It! from the Stitch n Bitch Superstar Knitting book) is that it has four little intarsia squares which just button on to the front of the jumper, meaning it’s effectively four different jumpers but with only having to sew sleeves in once. Can you tell I’m not enjoying the sleeve sewing? Also, once the child outgrows the jumper, you can just knit the next size up and use the same squares to button on to the front! Genius!

sheep

I’m hoping both of these will miraculously turn into finished objects in the next few days, but you never know with me and big projects, really, which is why I generally stick to toys.

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Finding a Good Local Yarn Shop…

I used to live in London. In London, there is no shortage of lovely, independent yarn shops. Three years ago we relocated down to Kent, which is lovely for a lot of reasons; the countryside, the sea breeze, people saying hello to you when you leave the house, everybody not being in a rush all the time, and (my particular favourite) the abundance of good, seasonal, cheap farm shops and farmers markets which make it really easy to eat local produce all year round. This is important to me. Since I was a teenager, the idea of self – sufficiency has appealed strongly, however living in a rented flat with a communal garden managed by the building agents, that’s a far off goal at the moment. My substitution for it is buying local & handmade produce as much as I possibly can. I’m not saying I never shop in chains, or online, but I definitely do so a lot less than other people (Etsy being the exception. I’m obsessed), and I love to feel that I’m supporting my local community, and in all honesty, getting a better quality of product in the process. 

When it comes to yarn, I’ve hit a snag. My favourite thing about shopping (for yarn, but also in general) is choice. Yes, I want to be able to get the yarn that I go in for, but I also like to be able to browse around and find something unexpected and beautiful that I just have to add to my stash. Around these parts, that’s difficult. There is a yarn shop in the town where I live, and I do go in from time to time, and I do buy things. Currently I’m knitting a jumper for my son with yarn purchased from there (Jenny Watson Babysoft DK, for those who are interested) which is lovely and soft and knits very well, but was definitely not cheap. But aside from that, here’s what I have in the vicinity:

– my favourite yarn shop/haberdashery is 16 miles away, with no direct bus or train link so I have to plan ahead and make a big list for when we go. 

– In the town that I work in (also 16 miles from where I live. You wouldn’t believe it from this post but I actually don’t live in the middle of nowhere!) there is a branch of a chain shop which has a pretty good haberdashery, but it’s way more expensive than the independents. 

– There is a Hobbycraft about 3 miles up the road, but the more I shop for yarn there the less I like it. I do it pretty much because of their 3 for 2 offer and the fact that they generally stock the core colours in the yarn I need for my toy making. I also occasionally take advantage of said offer to buy pretty yarn that I’ve lusted after for ages, but unexpected, different yarn? Not so much. 

– While googling yarn shops in my local area I have just discovered that there is apparently another one that I must have walked past a few times on trips before, but even that’s not particularly close. 

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Sirdar Folksong, much lusted after, bought on the 3 for 2 offer. No idea what I’m going to make with it!

Yes, I sound like I’m whinging, and I’m not really. It’s not that I don’t enjoy shopping for yarn in what’s available to me locally, it’s just there there are so many fewer yarn shops accessible by walking/public transport than I would like, and I find myself reverting to Hobbycraft a lot more than makes my local community minded self comfortable. 

That said, I have started to explore, via the genius of the internet, the possibilities of amazing yarn shops around the country. We tend to do quite a bit of random travelling within the UK, so I’m hoping my research will allow me to just be able to drop in to some of the amazing places I’ve discovered. 

Do you have a fantastic local yarn shop I should know about? Where do you buy your yarn? 🙂 

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Let’s Start Over

Hello.

I’m Bex and I’ve been blogging as as book blogger over on Blogger for over three years now. An earlier incarnation of this blog, based around my love of craft and creation, is also Blogger based, but Blogger and I have been falling out of love, for many reasons, for a long time, and so I thought it might be nice to head over to WordPress and have a look around. I feel like it might help my (almost impossible to achieve) ambition to be one of those bloggers who posts regularly and takes beautiful photos and is always really organised.

In reality, posts are likely to be sporadic, the photography will hopefully improve as the year progresses but we’ll see, and I am not at all organised!

Because it’s nice to be able to look back and see where you were when you started, here’s a little about what’s what around here.

I started my business selling my handmade items just under a year ago now. The initial inspiration for Cave of Crafted Wonders was based purely on the desire to be able to fund my craft habit while on the last three unpaid months of my maternity leave after having my first son. Also, after having a child, I realised how difficult it is to entertain said child without hours of TV, and so I started looking into the traditional toys my siblings and I had loved as children; blocks, balls, finger puppets, dressing up and the rest, and I was quickly inspired to create my first item.

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The first toys I ever created!

After a while (and much support from lovely friends and family) I discovered the joys of Etsy and Facebook, and other people started to buy some of my designs, and that’s pretty much where I am today.

Where I’ll be in 6 months time is a totally different story, as I’m currently 6 months pregnant with baby number 2, also a boy, and have no idea how I’ll make time for crafting with a 20 month old and a newborn, but I’m sure it will work itself out!

Knitting is my major love at the moment, but I’m also starting to learn to quilt, and hopefully to crochet soon too, so I’m not restrictive. I love how inspiring crafting is, and the craft community in general. Because of Etsy I now buy pretty much all of my gifts and non-necessities from small, handmade businesses and have had such great feedback from family and friends that a lot of them are doing the same, which is amazing.

Blogging is a huge love of mine which I discovered only after relocating 100 miles away from all my family and friends and I’m so glad that I did! Through book blogging (if you’re interested you can read my book blog here) I’ve made so many amazing friends, a lot of whom I actually see on a regularish basis now, and I’m hoping that craft blogging will become the same kind of awesome experience. If you have a craft blog, I’d love to read it, please link it in the comments 🙂

So the first post is done, let’s see where this takes us…

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The most inspiring and cheerful flower ever, being subjected to my awful photography…

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