Thursday, 19 July 2012

Treasury Thursday - Happy 2nd Birthday

So It's Thursday (not Tuesday!!), I know I'm a little behind this week with my Etsy Treasury, in fact I meant to post this last week but we got rather tied up with the birthday celebrations.

Yep, that's right, last week Kaylee celebrated her 2nd Birthday. I don't know where the past two years have gone!! She's becoming a proper little girl. She had a great time both on her Birthday and at her party on the Saturday! Family and friends all helped to make it a wonderful celebration. I must admit however to cheating on the bakery front this year with a shop bought Birthday Cake and fairy cakes which we decorated ourselves. Next year I'm going to do the cake from scratch!!

Anyway... here it is Treasury Thursday:  Happy Birthday - 2 Today!

Crown by Glam Hatter

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Sunday Spotlight: Elfwitch Designs

As a new feature on my blog I have decided to dedicate Sundays to some truley wonderful, creative and talented people in what I am calling my Sunday Spotlight.

The first of these is this weeks Crafty Witch, Arielle who runs Elfwitch Designs from her home in Edinburgh, making handcrafted jewellery and home crafts. ElfWitch Designs was created 3 years ago, when Arielle decided to become her own boss for good and run a business which reflected her various passions and talents. The main aspect of the business is the beautiful crafts she designs, makes and sells. It started (and still is now) with hand-made beaded jewellery with an alternative edge, and last year saw the addition of fabric crafts and gothic patchwork in particular. 

I asked Arielle to tell me a little about her personal backround, she said; "I have been suffering from various physical and mental illnesses for years and had to abandon a promising teaching career 10 years ago as a result. I decided to make a success of my life by becoming self-employed through necessity of course, but also thanks to my determination, survival instinct and sheer bloody mindedness!" Elfwitch Designs now have an established Etsy shop (, a popular Facebook page ( and have had stalls at the Whitby Gothic Weekend and the Out Of The Blue Drill Hall Arts Market in Edinburgh. 

I myself own many pieces from Elfwitch Designs, as well as having bought several gifts for family and friends too. I too have been on the receiving end of a few 'Elfwitch' gifts. I received a gorgeous bookmark as a present from my little girl that featured a gorgeous purple turquoise skull and has become my favourite reading companion (that is when reading book rather than my kindle). Her jewellery designs are truley unique, with a quirky alternative edge and a flair for design! I commissioned her to make a set of skull earrings after I was so taken by my bookmark gift, and my bat watch necklace always garners attention whenever it is worn!

This year I asked Arielle to create a patchwork cushion for my tub chair, and to match the colour scheme of our living room: black and green. It would of course have to feature a few elements of our style, gothic tastes and love of music. The piece she created was beautiful and so well made and finished perfectly, as you can see Kaylee really liked it too!!

Now readers... I have a little treat for you all... If you have enjoyed this spotlight and like what you have seen then why not leave me a wee comment. One reader will be picked at random next Sunday and will receive a custom bookmark from Elfwitch Designs just like the one pictured.

Please take a little look at her Etsy shop and pop on by her Facebook page too and tell her I sent you and remember to come back next week for another Sunday Spotlight!

Friday, 6 July 2012

The Parasol Protectorate

The Parasol Protectorate - Soulless, Changeless, Blameless, Heartless & Timeless

In my teenage years I devoured fiction... I would spend a whole day engrossed in a new book, often starting and finishing a book in a day! My favourite authors being David Eddings and Neil Gaimen. In my 20's I found myself reading very little outside my sociology, economics and psychology, and then nursing textbooks. In my thirties I've enjoyed reading children's fiction to my soon to be two year old, our favourite being Julia Donaldson and her now famous Gruffalo! But not until recently have I found my way back into reading for myself... and that is thanks to two very special people!!

Those people are my good friend Madeline and the author of the book she lent me one day - Gail Carriger. The books are known as 'The Parasol Protectorate', a series of 5 novels about out heroine Alexia Tarabotti, described as, "a woman with several critical problems: she is still searching for a husband, her late Italian father complicates her social standing in a rigid class system, and she has no soul", She reminds me of Elizabeth Bennett from Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice, strong willed and certainly able to take care of herself in a society that demands she finds a good husband to take care of her! In this alternative 'Steampunk' London everyday folk exist alongside a supernatural set which includes Vampires, Werewolves and Ghosts.

These novels are so delightfully written. They grab you from the early pages, tossing you into a world of drama and intrigue that envelops you completely, and keeps you gripped to the very end. I started the series with the copy Madeline gave me, and soon switched to my Kindle (my joint Anniversary and Mothers Day gift from Alan & Kaylee - it was our 1st wedding Anniversary this year and Alan found the idea of the Kindle as my gift appropriately perverse!!). That was in March of this year... by the middle of June I had competed the series. I have never wanted to read so much and so furiously as I have these past few months as I did when I was a teenager. And this new found love of reading hasn't stopped with Gail's novels... I'm currently reading The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter.

These books have inspired me with my millinery so very much - the covers of each book picture Alexia dressed in beautiful Victorian finery with the obligatory hat, the descriptions of Ivy's (Alexia's best friend with a flair for the dramatic) 'interesting' choices in millinery and of course the amazing descriptions of Madame LeFoux's hat shop with its hats suspended from the ceilings on chains!! Here are just two of my hats that I think really capture the essence of the series!

Black & White Mini Top Hat by Off With Her Head Millinery
Photography by Pyramid Clicks

Brown & Cream Print Mini Tricorn by Off With Her Head Millinery
Photography by Ange Harper
These books seem to be an inspiration to so very many of Gail's many, many fans... all you have to do is take a look on DeviantArt at the amount of fan pics to see how popular Gail and her heroine have become! This is one of my favourites, and I must confess of my favourite character 'Biffy', by Natalie (Tilwen).

Biffy by Natalie (Tilwen)

Gail herself writes the most charming little blog on Livejournal ( and is very active with her fans: you can find her on Facebook and posting in the Facebook group for the series here:
She has just finished writing Ettiquete & Espionage (a new series of novels entitled 'Finishing School') due to be released in Feb 2013... but can be pre-ordered via Amazon here:
(my copy is already on order).

So I end this blog post by simply saying thank you ladies, thank you indeed!

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Race for Life 2012

Since I lost my Mum to Cancer in 1994 I've always been active in raising funds for Cancer Research, and once again this year I took part in the Race for Life. This year I decided to come back to Kirkcaldy and took part in the race in Beveridge Park on the 24th June. My best time to date was 40mins and 40 seconds when I walked/ran at Holyrood in Edinburgh. I had made it my goal to beat that time and raise at least £100 in the process.
Self Portrait - just before the warm up!
Well I am really pleased to report that I came across the finish line at a time of 40 minutes dead!! So very happy with that result as my training time had been very limited by parental responsibilities and work commitments! As well as achieving that target, my final fundraising target (including gift aid donations) came to £187.25, which I will be personally be bringing up to £200!! So thank you to all the family and friends who supported me, donated their hard earned cash and kept me going to the finish line! Donations are still welcome though and can be made via my Just Giving page here:

I will, of course, be taking part again next year, not sure which venue yet though (I really liked the Holyrood course).

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

House of Pinheiro - Pincushion Swap

A couple of months ago this fabulous pincushion swap was brought to my attention and I couldn't resist taking part. Hosted by the 'House of Pinheiro' Blog (, I was matched and paired with Jenny for our swap!

I knew straight away that I wanted to make a pincushion hat... after all millinery is my thing! And as the project was to be shipped by Jubilee Day I decided to go with a red, white and blue theme!!

My package arrived shortly after having sent mine and was full of vintage goodies. The pincushion was a sweet vintage egg cup, perfect for sitting on my desk while I sew. As well as that I received some vintage sewing accessories, scrabble tiles that spelled out my name and a swirly lolly pop, all wrapped in tissue paper and tied up with some gorgeous ribbon!!

Jenny is a fellow crafting Mum, and writes The Gingerbread House Blog ( Please pop over and take a look, especially for the Lego cookies... think I'm going to give those a go with Kaylee as a surprise for her Daddy who is Lego daft!

Treasury Tuesday

So this is the first in a new feature on my blog. Bringing you the best of Etsy (and mostly featuring the work of British sellers), every Tuesday!

This week I've decided to create my Treasury based around the theme of 'Rainy Day'... we've had so much rain this past week that its felt more like September than June/July that I felt it was only appropriate to search out some rain themed pieces to cheer us all up! There's something for everyone in my treasury from artwork to jewellery, housewares to patterns for the creative among us and a few things in between.

I hope you enjoy this weeks treasury... any suggestions for following weeks themes, then please leave a wee comment!
Here Comes The Rain Print by Sparklehen £7.85 (plus postage)