11.12.08

Handmade black hole

CANCER HOROSCOPE DECEMBER 11th 2008

Even if you have already thrown your hands up in despair and let go of your agenda, it's still entirely possible that everything will turn out okay. You may be working overtime to come up with a contingency plan in case things become even more uncertain. Unfortunately, the more you plot and scheme, the crazier it could get. Adjust your expectations, let go and move on.


I heard on the news that scientists have discovered a black hole at the center of our Galaxy or Universe - somewhere big and spacey, anyway. They should have pointed their telescopes at our village, because I can state with certainty that there is a black hole here into which my days are being sucked with frightening velocity.
One of the nicest things to happen this week was the arrival of Jerome. Andy was nosying over my shoulder as I opened the bag, and exclaimed 'ahh, that's nice!' And so he is. He is more than nice, he is splendidly lovely, and he was a very generous gift from Green Phoenix, who makes utterly gorgeous desirables. At the moment he is hanging in my studio, as we are very old fashioned and don't bring our little tree in until Christmas Eve, when he will have a best branch. Thank you so much Nikki - we will treasure him.





My black hole was entirely of my own making - I started making Christmas ornaments and they sold frighteningly well. Faster then I could make them...and as usual, I had dozens of designs and only one pair of hands.








I've been investing in findings and wire, which is a whole new world to muddle my poor head with; wire gauges, split pins and filigree basket beads...luckily I still have a great set of wire tools which Andy's dad gave me way back in 1993, when I had a brief period of making puppets. Or rather, starting them and not finishing them. So for all you crafters who worry about hoarding supplies - don't chuck anything out, you will eventually find a use for whatever it is, even if it is fifteen years later.




However, as anyone who's served time in retail knows, December is Too Late to be stocking up for this year's holiday. So my nice 2009 Country Homes and Interiors calendar starts with my New Year's resolution;




I am so completely off the ball with everything that I forgot to announce the launch of a really beautifully designed new online magazine in PDF form, UK Handmade, (download size 3.41 MB) which is crammed with Good Things and familiar artist/designer names in the Etsy/online crafting world. Toby of Natural Attrill is in there, and interesting articles on fashion, cookery, jewellery, accessories, becoming a small business, lifestyle and somewhere near the end, a rather waffly self penned article I submitted about my discovery of needle felt. When I first heard about it,
I hadn't realised just how professional it was going to look; it really is a good looking magazine, and is simply begging to be made into print form. UK Handmade also has a main website with a forum which always welcomes new members.

Did I say that Valentine's Day starts next week? It does in this house; I'm not being caught out like that again and I have so many ideas for little heart-lovey things of gold and silver and felt...

31 comments:

carolyn said...

Well Happy Valentines then!

Sue said...

What a fabulous publication is UK Handmade - really stylish and far far better than other recent new releases. Thanks for alerting us to it.

Re the black hole, if it is any consolation there appears to be one forming over south Manchester also...

I have the same calendar as you and I think I am going to mark the same note to self on it too!

Good luck with it all :-)

tut-tut said...

Good ideas, all. I wish I had known of your Christmas ornaments! Next time I'll be an early bird at your etsy shop (assuming you posted them there).

Parrish70 said...

Gretel! I have the same problem! Around the end of November I started to think I should do a couple of Christmas paintings. Yah, a little late so... I am, like you, franticly trying to think up a few Valentine ideas so that I won't be caught empty handed again! =)What is after Valentines day? St.Patricks... Easter... It never ends.

Chris.P said...

Those ornaments are just brilliant Gretel.

Just one question: who's the guy with the violin?

Sarah Laurence said...

Your felt creations deservedly steal the spotlight, but I love your opening photo as well. All this blue sky since I left England? You are a holiday ahead, and I'm one behind. I'm still catching up from Thanksgiving. You must hire a team of elfs to help next X-mas. Those ornaments are lovely.

Dana and Daisy said...

one craft always leads to another I have found!

Adorable creations, as always! The little tree with legs is quite cute!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Well I am quite certain that your black hole travels during the night and hovers over my house, because I am suffering from missing days as well! Oh, but I do love your ornaments! So much.

I'm off to check out UK Handmade now! Can't wait to see it!

Enjoy the holidays!! Edward sends happy greetings your way!

Gail said...

I can see what you watch while you felt ;-)

Those ornaments are super and I'm so glad they sold well.

I too will have similar notes in my calendar ... I have 2 weeks over Christmas during which I plan to do the BIG PLAN for 2009!

All the best
-Gail X

Bee said...

As soon as finish with Valentine's, please do start on Christmas ornaments again . . . as I would dearly love some of your ornaments.

Very sad to miss our felt-making today. Trying to cheer myself up with a bit of blogging, as only the seasonal chores await me.

Puddock said...

I am delighted to say that the little house ornament now belongs to me and is tucked up safe and sound here in the Highlands waiting to be hung in pride of place on my tree!

Jess said...

I'm not at all surprised your little ornaments are flying off the shelves - they're gorgeous! I'm totally with you on the hoarding materials, I've kept buttons, fabric, wool, old pieces of embroidery, lace, cord, old zips because one day, one day they will be resurrected, oh yes they will.x

Gigibird said...

I completely agree with everything you say….about time. I’ve found as I have got older time seems to be going faster….
I agree about keeping craft supplies and tools – if you can find a space for them.
And finally about Christmas ….my problem is I can’t have Christmassy thoughts that inspire making Christmas themed wares until about the 23rd of December….I guess now we should all be thinking St Valentines and Easter but I am thinking about making a felt robin……………too little too late

Green Phoenix is one talented lady. She paints such beautiful faces.

natural attrill said...

I like Jerome! and your xmas decs are fabulous.
Have you thought about making felted jewellery? I can imagine a collar or necklace incorporating your wonderful creatures, with sterling silver findings, I reckon jewellery might make a higher profit for you as well perhaps?
UK handmade is really good isnt it, thanks for putting the link to Toby's jewellery.
Penny.
x

Libby said...

I'm with you on the Christmas planning. I always should start earlier but never do!!!!!!

Rachael Rabbit said...

The ornaments are just SO beautiful - your creations amaze me constantly ....

Frances said...

Hello PG,

Thank you for the introduction to the Handmade online magazine. I rapidly scanned through it, stopping every so often when a particular page just stopped mid-click, but of course, I was just dashing along looking for your pages.

I was richly rewarded as always. I hope that this magazine will grant you even more wide praise, all so richly deserved.

Running out of time here on my last day off before a major return to work. So many Christmas projects are so nearly, but not quite, finished. Hope still springs with every dawn.

xo

Caroline B said...

A black hole, eh? So that's where my days have been going too....totally agree with you about Christmas, had so many plans and no time to bring them to fruition. So now you are 'cross-crafting' - gorgeous ornaments! Jerome is pretty special too.

Elizabeth said...

Your little robin is a delight!
I'm now off to scan the magazine.........I met the Atrill's last year we had such a fun day.
Toby is a very talented young man.

hen said...

That photo is gorgeous Gretel. I wanted to walk into it and disappear. I stopped myself though as I have too much to do. :o)

Your decorations are yet another ingenious and wonderful creation and I love them! I particularly love my little bird that I have hung on one of my willow creations. It makes it so much prettier.

Fantastic quality yet again Gretel, thanks!

hen
xx

Cat in the Foxgloves said...

Wonderful ornaments!! You are so talented.
I think I must be in your black hole too because time jumps by at an alarming rate....

LittleBrownDog said...

What gorgeous things, Gretel - I'm not at all surprised they've sold so well. I WANT that robin! (suppose it's too late for this year...)


PS Don't worry about the black hole - I think all galaxies probably have them - it's what makes all the stars whirl round, I should think, like water swirling into a plug hole. We've got a few billion years before we get there, though... xx

acornmoon said...

Thanks for the link to the handmade mag, a little gem, especially interesting is the section about your introduction to needle felting. I think maybe you have a Fairy Godmother somewhere.

Like you, I am into the world of "findings" and wire cutters, not to mention "needle nose pliers". Can't wait to see what you will create next!

dowhatyoulove said...

I just came across your blog, and oh my gosh I love your ornaments and toys. I have just started needle felting, and I would love to be as creative as you some day. Keep on with the wonderful work!

muddy red shoes said...

hi G, felting...just got the needle, big time, it is fab, very addictive, go see my first efforts on MRS. glad you have sold well, cant wait to see the hearty stuff. xx for yule. sarah

Jane said...

Hi Gretel, so pleased to have found your blog again, managed to loose all my bookmarks, technology is a wonderful thing (sometimes)!

It's not so much your work that inspiries me (but it is fab), but the fact that you have actually achieved your dream. When ever I read I think there might be hope for me too. Thank you so much for sharing your life with us.

I hope you have a very Happy Christmas and a very prosperous New Year.
jane

Kim said...

You are sooo right about getting started for Christmas in January :) Busy is good, especially when it brings in the pennies :)

I'm going to try your pheasant recipe soon, too.

Kim x

Janet said...

Your felting inspires me to get more creative..your friend, Janet and theemptynest-janet.blogspot or theemptynest.etsy.com

lettuce said...

nooooooooooo

thats exactly what i DON'T need to be told about hoarding....

the Xmas decorations are exquisite and fabulous

I l ove the photo at the top, beautiful

and wish you a great christmaS!

Jackie said...

Ha! This could have been my very own blog post. I am determined not to be so overwhelmed so late next year. But if you are anything like me you only have your good ideas when working under pressure. I am already thinking valentines...and I don't know about you but I am having withdrawal symptoms form not making things for a few days.
I also got a cat ..'Maurice'which was my dads name coincidentally..so lovely.

Val Grainger said...

Just found your blog...........fantastic....made my day!!!