Friday, 24 June 2011

Are you down with the (w)rapping?

It's been another fun filled week here on Zulu... With a reaction starting Monday morning that meant a stay in hospital and a LOT of drugs to kick it out, I'm now sitting up in bed tapping away on my much-missed Daddy's notebook as I can't sleep due to the guy angle grinding the boat he's building and the couple next door having mid morning rumpus! Fair play to them! lol!!

I hopped on to my facebook page for a while yesterday evening though after getting home from hospital (I'm totally addicted to hanging out with my floaty folk there!!) and it was worth it. Everyone cheered me up and I uploaded a couple of pairs of earings I made to my folksy shop ( and one lovely lady instantly bought a pair!  I popped another link to the last pair of the same ( and had a new liker ask where I got my backing cards from! 

This isn't the first time I've been asked about the backing cards for my jewellery and it's such a compliment that people notice them enough and assume they're made professionally.  But, I cut them all by hand, I layer them with several colours of ink and stamping to distress and finish them, and I have a new passion for suade thonging to finish them off! I LOVE them!!

It all goes back to my upbringing you see.... When I was a kid there wasn't a vast amount of money floating around so presents were really thought about rather than extravagant and my mom in particular put so much effort in to the whole deal.  I remember once she made me a whole chair! An actual chair!! Out of an old solid thick card drum, and it was sooo beautiful. But as well as making it, she wrapped it.  Beautifully. I wish I had a picture to share with you.   My chair was deep burgundy velvet, with a braided trim with those old fashioned ornate brass rivets they used to put on furniture.  The inside was a gap I could store my cudlies.  It was amazing..  She did it with no money, in the late hours after we finally gave in and went to sleep, and with a huge amount of love. 
Nothing would ever just be stuck in some random paper with mum though.  There would be beautiful flowers, handmade dressings, all sorts to make the present so gorgeous that you almost didn't want to open it! She still does it. I love it and so do her friends!!
This is pretty much ingrained in me now.  I like to make the whole thing special... It might have butterflies or flowers, or pearls, or for Christmas - mini baubles and festoons of ribbon - but it will always be pretty! Except when it's for Mr W as he thinks it's silly and wouldn't care if his gift came in newspaper. Ironic, eh?

My favourite wrapping though? Brown paper and string! lol!!

Monday, 20 June 2011

To create or not to create, that is the question

Someone asked me on my facebook page over the weekend ( ) if it was moving on to a boat that started me off crafting and it got me thinking.  My family have all always created things you see, and when I was a kit I was always a bit shocked when one of my friends didn’t know how to do something “crafty” that I did.  Mum worked part time when my older brother and I were little, and then when she was home with us and our father was at work she worked as a dressmaker and tailor for extra pennies.  One of my earliest memories is us padding round the living room in bare feet looking for pins! Lol!
My mum worked really hard at creating things with us too though; another really early memory that I truly treasure is the three of us sat around the table making “jingle bells” for the Christmas tree out of egg boxes, matches, some cotton, and loads of glue and glitter.  I can’t speak for my big brother but I absolutely loved it.  My friends didn’t get to do anything nearly so exciting!
It carried on throughout our childhood as mum would make all our soft furnishings whenever we moved, and we always had the most amazing cushions that she would create through layers of embroidery and appliqué and after my much missed daddy (technically Step Dad) moved in with us he brought a new medium to the house as he painted the most beautiful water colours and oil paintings.  He also wrote poetry and novels so there was no bounds to the inspiration around us.
This is the illustration my little brother did for the cover of my dads book we were publishing when he rushed off to heaven... He never saw it, but he would have loved it. It was part of the things I was doing to boost his mood in those few weeks he got after diagnosis. ( I got letters from Kate Bush and the Moody Blues for him! Should have seen his face!)
You can find this book at Blackwells online but it says out of stock so when they get the order they place the order with my uncle who holds the stock of the books we had published). It's a great read!
It was actually printed just a few hours after dad passed away. I wish he'd seen it. It was going to be an awesome surprise for him. We sent a copy with him when he "went" though...

This is the portrait my older brother did of dad to go on the back of the book cover.  It is totally dad! lol!

My older brother worked mostly at his drawing and painting within the sci-fi realms and his work is stunning.  I was always more taken with the textile side of things and created soft sculptures that I still love to this day! My favourite was a cascade of individually handpainted and stitched ivy leaves flowing down the front of a cushion! After many years of use the delicate fabric of the leaves eventually gave way but one of my few regrets in this life is throwing it away in a fit of tidying!
When my younger brother got old enough to get in on the act he went the sci-fi route to a fair extent but in a darker style than my older brother.  He made some stunning sculptures but his love of the computer and our digital age definitely influenced him and he produces digital art that I wouldn’t know where to begin at recreating either with a computer or a full complement of traditional mediums.
So on fathers day, we all turned up (unplanned!) at my mum’s house, where due to a sneaky and fast attack of terminal lung cancer dad can no longer be found,  and there we sat  in a house filled with one of a kind originals, and talked about our current creations and passions and it was so lovely.   Dad would have absolutely loved it.  His last unfinished work is still in my mums room and although it’s unfinished it’s still gorgeous, and it’ll stay that way forever. I can’t imagine living in a place where there wasn’t a splash of love in the items that surround me though. The thought of buying mass produced art gives me a physical pain in my chest and I wish that there was some way of nudging those folks buying these duplicates and pointing out that having something unique and special isn’t actually that expensive or difficult to do. If you’re afraid to create something yourself then there are craft markets all over the place, and for those not willing to go hunting for fear of being lost in a creative maze, then why not see what’s on Etsy or Folksy or even Ebay?  You can buy an ACEO for a couple of pounds – why not have five and put them in a long photo frame? No one else will have the same thing hung in their lounge and you can be proud of something beautiful and unique that your friends will at worst talk about (art SHOULD be talked about!) and at best envy and adore and go off and find their own unique pieces.
Don’t be afraid to create – you don’t need to spend a lot of money – paper and pencil can produce the most amazing pieces that will melt your heart!  My current passion is one that I’d not played with since I was fifteen, but I’m having so much creating really vintage style but classic jewellery that I honestly love.  I posted some pictures to my facebook page just to share as I was so pleased with myself, and almost instantly sold the first pair of earings I’d made. If you’re passionate about what you’re doing, then someone out there will share that passion! Go talk amongst the forums on etsy and folksy and share the love of what excites you in the world of cushions/door hangers/lavender bags/miniature paintings/ whatever!!

Sunday, 12 June 2011

And the winners are....!

Well you guys have been so supportive, and left such cool comments for the big 500 giveaway that in the end Mr W (the judge; unbiased and unbribable!) picked two winner!

So, for item 1 (pictured below) the winner is "Kreative Kirsty", and item 2 (pictured lower down!!) is Alison Dent!

Please send your addresses to me at so I can send you your goodies!!

Thanks so much for being part of the fun at The Little Floating Craft Co!!

Item 1 - Kreative Kirsty
 Item 2 - Alison Dent

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Pineapple upside cake is absolutely necessary!

I have to say, it's been an awesome weekend! After Mr W had to work Friday night we had a late start to the day on Saturday but we did get to the Strawberry Fair in Cambridge which was lovely!   There are always so many interesting people to see, and I could happily sit and people-watch for hours. Alas, it was not to be on this occassion as the teenager had to be brought back to the village to get to work on time - humph! To be fair though, I think I would have ended up very burnt if we'd stayed so perhaps it's not all bad.

This morning we had a little lay in then fired up the engine and headed our gorgeous Zulu down towards Cambridge.  We had a really chilled out cruise, as almost everyone was heading out of Cambridge rather than in after the celebrations yesterday.  All the locks were the wrong way around though so they took blooming ages to get through but it meant there was time to natter with the folks going the other way which is always interesting.

By the time we got to Cambridge we were peckish so we went to our absolute favourite restaurant - Anatolia's - for a fantastic Turkish meal.  Om nom indeed!! After dinner, we went to play in Ark and I managed to come away WITHOUT the beautiful platter I desperately wanted! Are you impressed??!
We cruised home and then to appease the teenager who'd been left working/on her own boat I quickly made a pineapple upside down cake to pop in the oven! It's already ALL GONE!! lol!

Ingredients:  3 eggs, 150g butter, 150g s/r flour, teaspoon baking powder, 150g caster sugar, teaspoon good vanilla extract, 4 pineapple rings, four tablespoons golden syrup.

  1. Grease and line an 8" round tin with a sealed base. Lay out the pineapple rings and drizzle the syrup over the top. Make sure that the rings don't leave a completely sealed space in the middle as it's harder for that bit of sponge to cook.. let it seep between the rings a bit! You can pop a glace cherry in the middle of each ring if you feel like it!
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar and beat until it lightens in colour. Add the vanilla extract.
  3. Add the eggs and beat again for at least a few minutes (if it curdles add a little of the flour) until when you drizzle some mixture over itself it looks like a ribbon gently sat on top.
  4. Sieve the flour and baking powder in, and fold in gently
  5. Turn out into the baking tin, carefully spreading over the pineapple and syrup.
  6. Cook on gas 6 for approximately 40 mins but check after 30 (slide a stick of raw dried spaghetti in to the middle and if it comes out clean it's done!)
  7. Turn out onto a plate straight away- if you want to add more syrup now is the time!  It's best served piping hot covered in cream! lol!
Hope you enjoy!

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Big 500 giveaway!

I'm still slightly in shock that we've hit the big 500 - that five hundred people have actually clicked like on my facebook page ( and stuck around to see what I do.  Even more exciting, is that people that don't know me in the real world like my designs enough to order online and buy what they see on the screen, and then even come back for more! It doesn't mean any less that the lovely people that I count among my friends buy from my collection either - it's a real honour!

So with all this in mind, I wanted to give something back - but with the eclectic style of my collection it's hard to know what would go down the best! So what I've decided upon, is a choice of two items, and I would ask that you leave me a comment here on this blog as to which you would like, and give me a really good reason why YOU should be the lucky person who gets it! Mr W (him indoors) will then judge next Sunday lunchtime who wins!  I think this could be really interesting!!

Item 1: 
A set of three handstitched hangers, filled with french lavender, and beautifully detailed with Cath Kidston fabrics and all kinds of trim. 

Item 2:

"my blackened heart" french lavender filled hanger, on black satin tag.  A one of a kind unique piece, handstamped, appliqued and stitched by moi!

So let me know what you think?  Can't wait to read your comments! xxx

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Mad crafting frenzy

I'm wondering if I'm the only one who has trouble nailing their attention down to one specific theme/style/craft?  I'm such a magpie when it comes to crafting that I have to have a bit of everything and just love working in many different styles.
This explains why if you look through my folksy shop you can find dark distressed Victoriana cards along side happy little narrowboater cards and airy fairy textiles made with Cath Kidston fabric.  There probably appears little rhyme or reason but I like that.  I know all the rules about giving your work a recognisable look and I think my crafted cards do have a style that's my own, but the rest of my work is not so easy to recognise as mine. I think my narrowboat cards have a certain style that's probably easy to pick out but I'm not sure...
Do you have just one style or are you an eclectic craft hopping fairy like me? I'd be interested to know!!