Wednesday, November 19, 2008

New Marketplaces

With so many new selling sites springing up left right and centre, it's hard to know where to pick to sell on. A lot of them are still in beta, so they havent finished testing them out, and there are no real sales figures to go on, so you dont know how successful you will be there.
But thats how Ebay & Etsy started out and now they have millions & hundreds of thousands (respectively) of users.
I have been selling on Etsy now for just over 6 months. I decided not to put all my eggs in one basket and in the last week I have opened shops on two new selling sites: & Both have opening offers for new sellers, free listings and discounted memberships.
Only time will tell as to how successfull selling on there will be, as sales on Etsy have been slow.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Featured in another blog

After the weather turned last week I was inspired to crochet up a little grey wool scarflette, I just sat down and the design flowed, no pattern, no nothing just experimentation, even included some button holes and a frill around the bottom.
I actually started with the mustard rose flower which embellishes the outside. That paved the way for the matching mustard silk buttons, and what better to set it off that a nice mid grey background. It is a simple double stitch ground and really didnt take too long to make.
Once listed on etsy the views shot up quickly, and two days later I recieved an email to say that it had been chosen by a fellow blogger as an example on her blog

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Supply success

Yay! I just won my new lightbox. This should greatly improve my photographs and bring them all into uniformed line.
I already bought some lamps and daylight bulbs earlier this week (the day someone outbid me on a cheaper lightbox, but hey ho!)
So keep an eye out for further developments and experiments once it arrives!

To sell or not to sell? Part 1

So do I venture into other selling venues?
At the moment fairs are not an option for me, I dont have the correct paperwork yet for starters a few places have a blanket license, but they still prefer you to have your own, and I dont have transport, display aids or signage. Or for that matter, enough stock to sustain a full day!
So, where else can I go?
Well I did Ebay for 4 years, to start off with I did a few auctions, then after 2 years I opened a shop, which was at £6 a month plus 6p per item listing for the month rather than 30p for a max of 10 days per listing worked out a lot cheaper.
There were ups and downs to only selling through a shop, as one of my friends said (and she owned a shop there herself) that she never looked in the shop listings to buy stuff, only the auctions, because at that time it was a seperate page under all the aution listings. I think they now mix all the listing in together.
Also you got to set the price up actually wanted to sell the item for as a Buy It Now price, not start the auction at a low price to entice bids, like an auction would. Good side, you got a half decent price for it, downside, people only want stuff for 99p! So you still couldnt really set a high enough price for your item, and items didnt move very fast tending to sit around in my shop for months on end. I only really had one good selling stretch, christmas 2006, I managed to make about £250 in one month, but other than that it was dribs and drabs.
Handmade items just dont go down all that well on ebay, people want brand names, and brand names for cheap. They dont want to pay retail for an item they could go out and buy in a high street store, and they most definately dont want to pay full price for something someone has made, not matter how qualified and skilled they are.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Retro Handmade Etsy Street Team Treasury

I made this treasury on Etsy's Treasury West for our street team Retro Handmade.
It features some of our newer members.
(Screenshot taken by Kelly of

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Serendipity The Finished Hat

Remember the first felted mini beret I made last month? Well here is the finished article!
I studded the felted wool with glued tiny pins holding tiny freshwater pearls, attatched matching grosgrain ribbon to tie under the hair at the nape of the neck.
It is sat on a matching handmade hatbox.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Crocheted Grey Felted Mini Beret (unembellished)

Grey Mix Paton's Classic Merino wool.
Crocheted mini beret, felted post production. (unembellished)

Felted Crochet - To form or not to form?

Phew! Another busy week. Relly's visiting from abroad, so it was Tourguide Liz for a week! God, you think you have busy life until you have to show people round where you live, then your knackered as hell after day two!
So that put a halt to design and make for 5 days, which was actually abit of a rest! I was eager to get back to it by the end of day 4.
I kept a ball of wool and a crochet hook in my bag for subway trips and got 4 mini beret's worked up and ready for felting. I managed to get hold of and old plastic pot lid which was just the right size for the insides of the berets, so that when they felt down they dont screw up like the first green one did. Although this means I can only felt one at a time (until I get another lid anyway)
The first one twisted slightly, but the second and third turned out well. I didnt put the last two in the tumble dryer, I left them to dry naturally after I had taken the plastic form out of the middle. I pushed the top and bottom apart and gently formed a dome in the top. This has given them a more natural shape, not so forced as the tumble dryed ones. I dont think tumble drying really adds to it. It would only be of use if I was drying larger flatter pieces.

Friday, October 24, 2008

My new hat block and steamer.

A few weeks ago I bought my first proper wooden hat block. I got it from ebay and it took ages to arrive! But it was well worth it. Next mission was to find something to steam the buckram with. I hit upon those handheld steam cleaners that look like a coffee jug, but for what I wanted it for they can be pretty expensive. So whilst looking on the Bed, Bath & Beyond website for other things I came across one for $20 and instead of the pointed nozzle it had a wide flat 'beek'. The first 'experiment' has gone really well. The wide nozzle means that more buckram is hit in one go, and it also helps to 'smooth' the fabric down which helps to eradicate scolded fingers. Take alook at the pictures.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Masquerade Pink Silk Eyemask

Pink silk eyemask, with black tatted lace and pink spotted guinea fowl feathers
Available from my etsy shop:
$36 + s&h

Thai Priestess Mint eyemask

Mint silk eyemask with pink tatting lace highlighted with ab rhinestones.
Available from my Etsy shop:
$36 + s&h

Black Widow Grosgrain Rosette Hat

Grosgrain rosette on a sinamay base with rhinestone detail and veil.
Available from my Etsy shop:
$68 + s&h

Tatting to Twitter, one busy week!

Busy busy week! Been setting myself targets (and not meeting them!) all week by drawing up a plan of action for each day.
I have gotten a few items finished and listed on Etsy.
I retaught myself tatting which was tricky to start off, but I soon had the nack of it again. I added several pieces to sosme of the silk eyemasks I have made as way of embellishment.
I've been floating round the forums on Etsy, trying to 'get my name out there'! It's given me a few ideas on places to promote myself, so I've been setting up accounts on different sights.
My latest thing is Twitter, where you just basicaly throw down whatever is happening in the moment. Abit like a blog, but less contrived, more spontanious.
I've already been found by two people after 8hrs. I have put the link on my profile page on Etsy and on here, but I want people to find me out themselves, so Im not going to to shouting out about it everywhere.
The green felted hat below is yet to be emeblished, but check out the pictures above of the Black Widow hat and the two tatted eyemasks that have been the majority of this weeks work.

Friday, October 17, 2008

P & S Fabrics is such a great shop!

I found everything I wanted, craftwise, in one store yesterday, so I didnt have to trek all over to find stuff, I got real feltable wool and spent yesterday afternoon crocheting it up, put it in the washer and woke up this morning to find a fab little felted bundle. I was trying for a mini beret, but I dont have anything to keep it flat with at the moment so it folded up and looks like a tennis ball, but I like it like that!
And I got a tatting bobbin, I thought I'd give that a whirl again.
So today is full of crochet, tatting, finishing off some eyemasks.

Feltable Wool - post felting

Feltable wool - pre felting

Paton's classic merino wool, Leaf Green.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Feltable Wool! Yay!

I finaly got some! And it works! Patons Classic Merino Wool. First off is another mini beret in Leaf Green, at the moment its drying/felting abit more in the tumble dryer, but so far it's turned out pretty well.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Where to buy my fabulous items?

Why of course! is a website specializing in handmade items from sellers across the world. Based in Brooklyn NY, it's an easy to use site which you can actually contact the peeps at head office if you have a really bad problem. As well as fashion designers, it caters as an outlet for artists, both painting and sculpture, photographers, beauty product makers & jewellery designers to name but afew.
My shop address is:

It's full of my hats, bags & jewellery and I have just reintroduced my fab line of silk eyemasks which proved popular before.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Prym Needlegrabbers

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The product I'm loving today is.....

Prym Needlegrabbers
Item no. 611 100 (found in the top left corner of the packet.)
You get 2 small round rubber disc's about the size of a £2 coin. They have a hatch marked surface and are GREAT!
I was abit hesitant at first, but I was trying to neaten up the edge of the wedding hat with bias, and was trying to sew through 5 layers of silk and 5 layers of Sinamay. I had been forcing the needle through with a pair of pliers which was taking a long time.
As instructed I folded th disc in half and gripped the end of the needle and, expecting to face resistance I started to push it into the layers of fabric. To my surprise it entered very smoothly and soon there was enough needle poking out the other side to be able to let go of this side of the needle and grab hold of the new piece and pull the whole thing through with ease, as if I was just sewing through an ordinary double thickness of silk!
At 95p for a pack of 2 from John Lewis in the UK and other Prym suppliers, go try them out! Well worth it for the time and finger saving!

The complete wedding outfit

Sorry about the cheezy grin!

Jade Green Wedding Hat

Jade green 100% Silk Dupion hat with large AB sew on rhinestones in a starburst, with teardrop pearls on wire tail and scattered self coloured sequins.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Vacation problem solving

So I've been away on holiday for the past few weeks, Cyprus for a friends wedding. Whilst away I made a hat for the wedding, I managed to sew on a British Airways plane with out any problems, although sharps aren't allowed in your hand luggage. I took pre cut lengths of thread with me so that I didnt have to take scissors on with me and risk having them confiscated! I'd already covered the base with silk and was stitching on big AB rhinestones in a star burst.
I didnt dare take on my crochet hooks as they are metal and would probably have been taken off me at security.
I didnt have much time to 'make' as we were really busy for most of the 2 weeks, but I did get the hat finished (with minutes to spare!) And I crocheted a 100% wool mini beret and top hat. I think I may have cracked the problem I was having before I went away (see my last blog entry). Im going to try this pattern in the bamboo yarn and see how it turns out later this week:
-chain 4, join, 1 chain.
-dc 8 times round ring, join, 1 chain.
-dc 2 in each stitch, join, 1 chain.
-dc in join st, *dc 1 in nxt st, dc 2 in nxt st* repeat between stars until end, join, 1 chain.
-dc in join st, *dc 1 in nxt st, dc 1 in nxt st, dc 2 in nxt st* repeat between stars until end, join, 1 chain.
-**dc in join st, *dc 1 in nxt st, dc 1 in nxt st, dc 1 in nxt st, dc 2 in nxt st* repeat between single stars until end, join, 1 chain.
- repeat ** row
-repeat ** row
- 1 dc in each st, end.
Whilst doing my holiday washing (there was sooo much!) I washed the mini beret on a hot wash, and it didnt shrink or felt at all! I have done this process several times before with ideal results, but never in this machine, I washed it on 3 different hot wash cycles with no joy, so Im not very happy now.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Working out how to crochet a mini hat...I'm stuck!

Ok, so today Im trying to figure out how to crochet a mini hat base, similar to the sinamay ones I've used before. Approx 11cm across with a light dome to the centre. I've either gotten too much of a dome too early and therefore it would stick out of the side of the head too far, or the dome starts off gently like I want it to, but then the edge seems to turn up and the piece between the crown centre and the edge dips down. I need to find that happy medium. I've been making it out of Bamboo yarn which can ctreate quite a nice stiff fabric. (Note to self: Get it in Black!) For the Domey version Ive been chaining 3, making a ring, dc x 10 in ring, 2 x dc in each st of nxt row, then do a 2nd dc in join st, then 1 x dc in each of nxt 4 st's, then 2 x dc in 5th st, repeat round ring, then on each row after add 1 to the single dc's ( so the next row has 5, then the next 6 etc, etc). The Turned Up one starts the same as the Domey one, then from the 3rd row I did, 2nd dc in join st, 1 x dc in nxt st, 2 x dc in nxt st, and repeat this all the was round, and then repeat on the next row, then the next etc. Hmmmm will keep on with differing combinations. There has to be one out there! I want to eventually make a mini beret but for now I want little capel style to wear on the side of the head like the 'Cool Girl' from Fridays 'Spot' embellished with self coloured sequins or rhinestones.

Omega Nylon Crochet Thread

The top pic is a shot of the reels and the lower shot is of a quick earring I made up quickly to try out the thread. The colours look a little flat and not very bright in the pics, but they are much more lux than this in real life!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The product I'm loving today is....

Omega Crochet Nylon
I bought some rolls from a lady on Ebay and they arrived this week. Her shop name is: Novelty Quilt Fabric.
Its 100% Nylon thread that is made in Mexico. The roll has 275m/300yds on it so they will keep me going for some time. They have a really nice shiny lustre, perfect for jewellery items like earrings, necklaces and covering beads. I got size No. 2, I think it comes in different sizes too. The colours are really vivid, I have a roll of Lime, which is really limey, not wishy washy and yellowy like you sometimes get, it is colour no. 29, and I got my fave colour Mexican Rose, which is a really hot pink shade (colour no. 10). They look great put together as a contrast.
It works up really well, nice and smooth and the threads dont split.
Go check it out, let me know what you think!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Cool Person in a Hat Spot

Today while I was walking down Broome St, SoHo, NYC. I spotted a girl ahead of me, all in black and not a goth, with a cute little black beaded mini hat perched on the side of her head. It looked great with her fine blonde hair scrapped back in a knotty little bun just above the nape of her neck. Great way to cover up a bad hair day! Didnt get close enough to get a good look, but she looked cool from far!

Why I decided to start this blog.....

Well I really want to write a book, but I dont know where to start and I dont think I have enough information to fill one yet! So if I start writing this then I'll have an 'archive' of what I know, and hopefully I will impart some knowledge and plenty of hints and tips and techniques on 'How To' make stuff!
I am a fully qualified Fashion Designer. I have my own label - LiD Designs. I am currently specializing in Millinery and am self teaching myself millinery techniques, so as I learn I can share with you the hits (and the misses!)
I also make bags and jewellery, I love to knit and crochet and felt. I get easily distracted when I see a new technique I want to try (Ive dabbled on so many different things over the last two weeks that I have a load of little piles of half started projects scattered around the room!).
I like to make a fabric from scratch and then manipulate it into an item or garment, its far more satisfying that way!
If anyone wants to know how to do something that perhaps I havent blogged about, please feel free to comment, requesting a tutorial on the subject. I may not know how to do it (yet), but I can probably find out and then we can all learn together!
Ok enough from me now, let me get on and make something!(Or should that be finish off something out of the pile)