Giving away my Secrets... Secret #1

I have been asked, at times, whether I have 30hours in my day... as opposed to the 'standard' 24hrs. Was i given a magic clock at my birth that allowed me extra time when necessary?
Umm, sadly no. I am a great believer in 'your Life being what you make of it'. Secret #1 is efficient time management. When i find myself with a spare hour i attempt to cut out felt shapes ready to sew... i pop all the ingredients i need for a complete project, into a little ziplock bag....
I then build up a series of little projects that can be picked up whenever i feel the need to sew. This doesn't work for machine sewing, but it is great for hand finishing - when i have to sit outside a Gym Hall and wait for SmallFish to finish gymnastics class.... or i am going to spend lazy Sunday at my Mums....

I hate time-wasting. It is a massive bugbear of mine. The best thing i ever did for my little handmade business, was to buy this small tin (below) and fill it with all the items i need so i can pick it up in a hurry and know i will have something to occupy me / something to sew!

My Studio might be very (very) messy but it is still very organised to me - so as not to waste time searching for bits...
Below is my packaging table. It was a low table, found on ebay and re-purposed for me needs :)
I love all the little squares in which i can store all the labels needed for posting packets....

Even my Jiffy Bags are all decorated and stickered, ready to get packed and off to the Post Office. If i let this system slide, i soon find i am totally out of control!! and parcels go astray...

Nothing gets designed before it gets cut and made...I am a "Cut First and never measure much" kind of girl. Once i have made something and i like it, i then sketch the template and keep them all in one place so i can find them easily:
Or sometimes they all fall out and i can never find what i need....

Anyway, now you know, my #1 Secret... i like to manage my time like a child with an Obsessive, Compulsive Disorder. It doesn't work for everyone, but it works for me xxx

What we did today at... The Craft Cafe...

Every School Holiday, for the past, hmmmm, 4 and a half years? I have run what we called The Craft Cafe.
2 hours of creative mayhem for local children aged 3-13yrs. Todays theme was: ROBOTS!! There are various tables with different crafting activities, all set up and ready for when the families arrive... and one fantastic Crafter had already started his own ROBOT and decided to bring it along:

The children's joy, enthusiasm and talents! really astound me. Before i worked in 'craft' i worked with children. I loved it (love it still)
Parents, Grandparents, siblings, dads... they all pitch in with the children and the atmosphere is lovely.
Seeing the Dads get stuck in, really warms my soul... "Boys don't like Craft": what hogwash! The boys who attend are always hugely creative and enthusiastic - they often come and tell me their ideas for 'next time'
I average about 35 children per morning's session. Today's attendance hit an all time high with 50 children involved in crafting!! Plus a few extra babies who were passed from sticky handed to cake-y fingered adults.
I imagine that the parents are relieved to be able to 'walk away' from the mess at the end. The children seem happy that there are no real 'rules' for 2 solid hours and they can use as much of the crafty stuff as they want. As it's local, they get to see a few friends or meet some new faces too.

The activities were appropriate for ages 3 - 13yrs, with Robot puppets and badges. Design your own paper robot (and laminate him / her... Ooooh we all loved the laminating today)
And, the EVER popular "Junk Table" where anything goes!

You might imagine that a hall full of 50 children, plus adults, was rather chaotic? But children are not chaotic and hectic by nature - quite the opposite. Children are clever, observant, dilligent, curious and creative. It is just that THEY choose when to apply all these skills. Today was one of those occasions.

Of course, there is the 'Cafe' side to all this creativity. Today the Cafe was run by my Sister-in-Law to raise funds for the local Playgroup Association. mMMMmmmMM cakes....
I loved it!! ....I am also knackered.
I know not all the Crafters from today will read this but, if you do drop by, thankyou so much for coming, it was a great way to spend a VERY snowy half term Thursday xxx

and now for some quilting...

I haven't quilted anything since i was about 13 years old.
I tried quilting when my mum bought me a book called "Happy Quilts"... i probably still have one or two hand-stitched hexagony 'shapes', half started and never finished, in a mothy box somewhere.
My mum wasn't a confident seamistress and didn't feel able to hand down what untrained knowledge she did posess, so, in turn, i never felt equipped with the confidence to continue. 20 years later... (can that be true?) and i am an entirely different being.... indeed, i am now a Fish.
I had it in my head last week that i was going to try some simple, 'Log Cabin'-esque, quilted pillows. And so that is what i spent last night and this morning, doing.
I made this large and simple quilted pillow for my cheeky little nephew. Actually he loves KNIGHTS! so i might work on a mini quilt for him (if i can source some good Knights fabric)

And below was the first quilted item i have finished - ever!: Needless to say, in true KirstyFish manner, i am now hooked and obsessed with quilted scatter cushions (lavender stuffed of course)

My first mini-pillow used strips of fabric 1.5" wide and i found it took me too long. You know what a short attention span i have. So i increased the width to 2" strips and it was a quicker process with just as much satisfaction.
Now, i am going through my family members thinking "what would my niece like?" ..... "it IS Mothers Day soon" - any excuse to make me some more.

All that yummy fabric.... *sigh*
This afternoon i ordered 50 metres of batting, 10yards of fabric and 2kg of lavender.
You know i don't exaggerate about 'how much' i get obsessed with things. You have seen the evidence right here!
Not being entirely frivolous, i decided to back the pillows in contrasting felt, as you *know* i have plenty of that stuff :)

And a few little details on the back to finish, gives them that special touch.
Because you love crafting too, you'll know how great my day was today... x

Batteries not included....

There is only ONE PLACE TO BE - this Thursday (18th FEB) in 'Half Term'.... We're doing R O B O T S at the Craft Cafe - Boddington Village Hall
Craft tables open at 10am and close at 12pm.
Cafe open to members of the general public PLUS my amazing PaperFish Craft Stall with many handmade goodies and Craft Supplies xxx see you there!

Day Trippers...

As the sign says, "Blethcley Park".
It's on the outskirts of Milton Keynes. It is the place that had that film made about it "ENIGMA" (with Kate Winslet)...? WE loved it! What a great day. If you are in the area, and you like history - go there.
Nobody really goes 'on holiday' to Milton Keynes... it ain't that kinda place - but i live quite near, so i got a season ticket for Bletchley. There is so much to learn here.

My LittleFish also had a great time. But it looks like 'baby' (below) was looking for a swift getaway...
We obviously took all the history and wartime learning, very very seriously...

I loved the exhibition called "The Home Front"....
and i have started my own little project about the 1940's into the 1950's... fashion, art, design and domesticity.

I have even bought my dad a season's entry ticket for his birthday - he is sooo going to love this place! (i don't work for the Buckinghamshire Tourist Office, honest guv)
I think i might dress up on my next visit, in authenticate vintage clothing of the era :)

You would love all the "Make Do & Mend" memorabilia - and the posters and propaganda and the buildings and the entire 'feel' of the place.
We split our sides laughing when we joined the wrong tour group - a group of 53 OAP's out on a Day Trip... we were asked, most impolitely, if we wouldn't mind leaving their group. SmallFish kept on laughing and pointing at their group when we saw them again "Look Mum, wasn't that our first group, who didn't want us"... (she's not subtle... or quiet)
I guess you had to be there really - but, you could be there... if you ever find yourself with a free day and you are in the area?

How to dress a suitcase...

So... as we were leaving the Charity Shop, eagle-eyed Sister (who doesn't really 'do' thrift n rummage) spotted this ancient Antler suitcase under a clothes rail, no price on it.
"Don't pay more than a fiver" i mouthed quietly...

We left having paid £5.00 for the coat, £2.00 for the dress and £1.50 for the case. Great finds. I wish the case were mine, but... i got the pink coat (from previous posts) and she did really 'find' the case. Had we still been 8yrs old i would have "persuaded" her to part with case... but she got wise to big sisters ways some years ago...

Looking pretty with that scraf tied to it's handle.

Suitcases make me feel sad PLAY

And, a friend found this old cotton apron which was handmade by her Gran. She thought "i know who'll wear that"... she was right! I've barely had it off me since it was gifted. So cute and it has totally inspired me to make another one for me - and one for the SmallFish too.

But it isn't all old and thrifty...
New Tan Boots: sort of cowboy meets riding boot meets slouchy 80's????

Don't go hating on me just coz i got great new boots. I'd want them too if they weren't mine.
A girls got to cheer herself up when the weather is blue.
And that is, basically, how to dress a suitcase...


Is it wrong to reeeaaalllyyy enjoy having Breakfast .....>>>>>> alone? Not every day. Just occasionally.

Current obsession is with marmalade.
It's amazing how many people also love it, when you start to talk about it.
Homemade Marma, going down a treat with my family :)

Shop Updates...

The Gingham Button Pack now contains 8 colours as standard = 80 buttons. The BEST 8 colours in my opinion. Other button sellers are selling all the colours mixed, but these are my current favourites :) Also: 3 THREE *new* felt colours in the FuzzyFish shop (see side bar links>>>)
This is Very Boy Blue:
This is 70%Cocoa:

This is Mushroom: (weirdly the most 'non-colour' avialble but my favourite to use right now?!?)

All good stuff - it's nice to keep adding / changing / updating / refreshing things.

Craft happy my lovlies xxx

Variations on a theme...

I can see why people might 'tire' of the ubiquitous "Russian Doll".... not me.
I can't. I loved them before they were famous. All the lovely Matroyshka fabrics inspire me with the need to sew... New PinPuffs with lavender, to have and to hold.

New NeedleBook... to have and to use.

I love all the Nordic / Scandi / folky designs and collecting FIGGJO ceramics.
I think there is a cross over here with Vintage and Modern design. That is perhaps what appeals to me most.
I am happiest at the moment when the Useful meets the Beautiful in a domestic setting (LINK) and the Babushka / Matroyshka is the boldest symbol of that.


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