Thursday, December 26, 2013


oh my ears and whiskers, I did it! 500 Etsy sales as of this afternoon!! big big thanks to everyone who has bought items from me, shared my photos/listings/pages etc and for just everything!

 Some more photos of Christmas at our house - I LOVE candles, and especially at this time of year when it just seems to be perpetually dark and dull.

The big heart shaped tea-light holder is in our sitting room window - it's so pretty!
 Christmas Day was actually a calm, sunny day - lovely and crisp, with snow on the far mountains. It was so nice out that Peter, Henry and I went for a walk along the golf links beach in the early afternoon - after breakfast (brioche and bucks fizz) and presents down at my Mum and Dads' house and before we had our dinner :)

I can finally post a photo on here of a very special present I made for the lovely Carrie <3 p="">
I made it using a pattern that I found in Simply Crochet magazine (though they used the squares for a blanket or scarf I think) - I really like the pattern - they are still 'granny squares' but with a bit of a twist!)

The yarn is lovely 100% baby alpaca from King Cole (via the lovely Springwools!) - you really need to be able to touch it to appreciate how luxurious it is!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas Everybody!

I thought I'd start off with a couple of festive photos! I'm busy today with a looong list of jobs to get done while Peter's out at work and the house is quiet, but I'm taking a break and have made myself a coffee so I can sit down and write what will probably be my last blog-update of 2013!

Big big news is that I am now only three sales away from having had 500 Etsy sales - I still can't quite get my head around that figure...I doubt that I'll reach that goal before the end of the year, but to be honest I'm not really that bothered about WHEN it actually happens, it's just a huge achievement whenever it comes around!

I just had a look at my 'shop statistics' the other day and I have actually done better on Etsy this year compared to the last twelve months. I need to remind myself of this kind of thing every so often, as I can get so bogged down in comparing myself to other people and shops on there, when really I should try to just focus on myself and making my own shop bigger and better {easier said than done, but one day I might just get there!}

I treated myself to a big order from BlackSheepWools last month - it was so big that it had to come in two packages :)

I've used up some of it already - making hats with the Rico Galaxy, King Cole Moorland and both lots of Wendy Celtic.

I also ordered some bits and pieces from PurpleLindaCrafts but had them delivered to Peter's Mum (in England) as I was meant to be going over there earlier this month, but I got sick so Peter had to go instead. I really have zero will-power!

I've kind of been on a spending spree recently but this is the time of year when I have more selkie-money so it makes sense to buy stock/supplies now rather than in the middle of the summer or whenever.

So in this spirit, I've bought 100 greetings cards from Moo :) I've included some new photos rather than keeping getting the same old ones over and over again - I thought I'd try selling ones with close-up photos of my crochet and I just love this photo from Valentia.

I'm selling the 'crochet' cards individually or as a set of four (in the photo above) - hopefully they will sell for me :) People are always saying how neat my work is, and I loved the colours so I chose those four as a 'test' to see how they sell.

I also bought 100 more business cards from Moo - they were having a sale and it always makes sense to stock up on that kind of thing when you can get a bargain.

I've used up yet more of my lovely wools from our Italian holiday -- the hat is a 60/40 blend of wool and silk. Oh I wish I had bought more of this instead of just one skein...

...and this is the second of the mohair blend with sequins which I bought there too...happy sigh... I still have lots left in my 'Italian' bag so keep watching for updates and photos!

Right, that's nearly the end of my second coffee so I'm going to finish up on the computer for now and wish you all a wonderful Christmas and all the best for 2014.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Italian Wool :)

I thought it might be a good idea to show how I've used some of the wools I bought on our travels in Italy...

These are all made with 100% wool and are so soft -- they've all sold apart from the black/grey fleck hat and I sold one of the cream wool headbands but have made another one to replace it.

And then I made these....

It was my first time using a wool with tiny (soft!) sequins in it and I just love how they turned out. I've started to make a pair in the cream too but have put them on the back burner while I concentrate on things in my order book. The creamy white version has little gold sequins and looks equally yummy (though I do prefer the blue version personally)

I've still got some more stuff in my 'Italian Stash' so watch this space in the New Year for other bits and pieces

Saturday, December 7, 2013

December Update!

Wow, well another month and here we go again!

I've got dinner in the oven (fennel and onion pie though I'm sure it has a fancier name than that in the cookery book) so am trying to update on here while that's cooking.

I am meant to be going to the Royal tomorrow for their craft fair (Santy will be there too!) - it's usually one of my favourite fairs of the year but I've cancelled my table as I have the mankiest cold and don't fancy either infecting half the island with it, or sitting around and shivering all afternoon. It's really disappointing as that was going to be my last one of the year but I'm also meant to be going over to visit Peter's Mum in England later this week and I don't want to bring my cold over there :(

I did two craft fairs in November, one in Portmagee and the usual Christmas one in the Tech, just down the road. The Tech one is my favourite of the whole year; there's always a lovely atmosphere and it really makes me feel Christmassy.

The two fairs were kind of like night and day. I only sold three hats and two pairs of wrist warmers at the Portmagee one - I was happy enough with it but thought that I'd have done better as hopefully people would be getting ready to buy Christmas pressies. Sadly I also had quite a few ''oh I could make this'' comments from people who didn't even barely glance at my items; I don't know why on earth people do this --- it's so soul destroying and mean :(

Anyway, I dusted myself off and braved the one at the Tech, not really hoping for the best but wow was I wrong! I sold SIX pairs of the crocodile stitch wristers! Six pairs!! Also another 5 pairs of 'regular' wrist warmers, 4 of my little wrist cuffs, 2 headbands, 2 hats, 4 cards (yay!) and one of the little sea shell bottles! Phew!!

It was by far and away the best craft market I've ever had; and it was weird because the lady sitting next to me only sold two hats -- and her stuff was lovely. I guess you just never know what people will want on the day.

So my Etsy shop is looking a bit decimated, I 'only' have 116 listings on there; I think the Christmas 'rush' has passed now but I'm still desperately hoping that I will reach my target of 500 sales soon. It'd be lovely if I made it by the end of the year but I won't exactly be losing sleep over it if I don't.

I'm up to 482 sales on there, which I can't grumble about!

To celebrate my successful craft fair in Waterville last weekend I'm afraid I gave in to my impulse/addiction and splurged on wool! I've ordered from BlackSheepWools again and PurpleLinda Crafts too - and I think I'm gearing up for a Springwools order while I'm at it though that hasn't happened yet! I really don't have any will-power when it comes to wool but I guess there could be worse things I could be spending my money on ;)

I just found out this week that one of my favourite yarns is discontinued :( It's the lovely ''Freedom Spirit dk' by Twilleys of Stamford, and is a really good quality soft pure wool which I've been using for my crochet for AGES. I'm so upset that it's gone - I must try and scout about on the internet and see if I can buy up a few balls before it's totally all sold and gone. The above headbands are all made with it; I love the colours and it's great soft wool too :(

I only have one of the hats left that I'd made with my gorgeous Italian wools - I might do a separate blog post about how I've started using up that yarn as it would be nice to have them all together... Every time one of those hats has sold I kick myself for not having bought more of the wool..but we were at our full luggage capacity with RyanAir :(

 Oh and I must do a blog post about my adventures in spinning! Watch out world the spinning selkie approacheth! I've put that on hold til after Christmas though as I have a few orders on my 'books' and am making a surprise Christmas pressie for someone - so that will be enough to keep me busy for a while yet I think.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Wool Shops in Italy - part two

I'd gone on holiday armed with a print off from the trip advisor forums about where to find wool shops in Florence and alongside our city map Peter and I managed to track down two of them.

Sadly the first one we got to was all closed up for their lunch break but I had a good peek in their window all the same! They seemed to have a lot of more upmarket fibres (mohair, alpaca etc) so it's probably a good idea that they were shut - I think I would have been very very tempted!

Not to be deterred, we carried on, map in hand to try and find Mirka Filati their web site - it was quite easy to find the location but not so easy to find the shop as it is all underground and only had one small-ish window!

 As you can see it isn't exactly obvious, but I think that's kind of part of its charm :)

 You have to go down the staircase to get into the shop properly - it was like going in to a cave full of magic and treasures!

 Like the wool shop in Venice they only seemed to carry Italian yarns - but look at the huge selection they had - there's no way you'd be able to fill a wool shop with solely Irish yarns, sadly.
An awful lot of the yarns seemed to be pure wool or be 50/50 blends with acrylics etc - the quality was SO good; I really could have left with 10 times the yarns I purchased but I had to be realistic about how much I could fit in our suitcase!

As you can see there was even more wool up behind the counter! The man had a loooong wooden stick and would carefully knock the wool off the shelf with the stick and then catch it :)

So this is my 'stash' from this lovely shop - it's all really really lovely! I started to make a baby jacket with the rainbow colours on the top row but it's come up too small (my lovely tight tension!) so I'm going to have to frog it and start over!

Doesn't it look pretty though? It's a 50/50 blend of wool and acrylic and was only €2.50 per 50g ball!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Wool Shops in Italy - part one

I really felt that this deserved a whole blog post of its own :)

Before we had set off on holiday I have to admit that I did a bit of googling to try and track down some wool shops that I could visit while in Venice and/or Florence. I couldn't find any in Venice itself and was able to find four listed on trip advisor posts so I was quite hopeful.

Purely by chance we went past a wool shop in Venice on one of the many teeny tiny streets - I was so excited, but they were all closed up for lunch (shops in Italy seem to take a very long lunch break!) so we carried on with the hopes of finding it open later on or the next day.

After a lot of meandering around the streets the next day we managed to find the shop again! This is quite an achievement in somewhere like Venice, which is just one narrow winding street after another - it seems like you find things there by luck.

Venice wool shop -- they don't seem to have a website/facebook page etc but I'm not surprised as it was a very small shop and didn't just sell wool: they also seemed to have a lot of women's underwear in stock.

Pretty much everything was kept behind the counter, so you had to ask to see the wool up close and feel it etc - which was slightly intimidating and strange compared to the wool shops I know and love; it was especially a bit of a challenge as Peter and I have virtually no Italian and the lady had the same amount of English...but we got round it by pointing! We managed alright though and the lady was very patient despite me asking for a lot of things down from the shelves.

This is what I bought there - I would have been easy to have spent a lot more money there but I was very virtuous {and also very aware that there were wool shops to visit in Florence and the space in our luggage was very limited *shakes fist at Ryanair's weight restrictions*}

The one on the bottom right is a 50/50 blend of merino wool and silk - it is so yummy and I was able to get 100g for just €10 -- I wish I'd bought more of it now, and in the different colours.

The sock yarn is a present for my friend Shirley :) she makes the bestest socks etc ever, so I hope she will like using this.

The 'Lana Gatto Niger' are all 100% pure wool and they are SO soft! I've started to make a hat with the turquoise/pink/green one this afternoon; the 'natural wool' ones are (obviously) pure wool too though they don't feel quite AS soft as the 'Niger' ones - it's still lovely! Finally the ones with the sheep on are 100% pure merino wool and they are in lovely self-striping colours.

I'll take some photos as I use them and will report back but I am very very happy with my purchases from that shop!

Saturday, November 2, 2013


November already; I'm feeling pretty disorientated at the moment as we were away for 10 nights and now all of a sudden we're into November and before I know it I'll be trying to get ready for the craft fairs etc in the build up to Christmas...eek!

I can't grumble really as we had a lovely time away on holiday though it was all very much of a whirlwind it was lovely all the same :) We flew from Cork to Birmingham and had a couple of days staying with Peter's Mum, then flew from the East Midlands airport to Venice and had three nights there, then caught the train to Florence, had three nights there and then flew from Pisa to Stansted in England and stayed a night in the hotel there before catching the first flight back to Cork the next morning ------- phew!

Venice and Florence were both out of this world - I took nearly 500 photos and will be posting some of the better ones on my facebook page and on here in due course! So be prepared for a photographic onslaught soon.

While we were away I had to deactivate all my Etsy shop and things have been pretty dead since then but I'm still hopeful that things will pick up before Christmas, there's still time. Now we're back home I'm keeping busy making things - I've just finished a hat for the lovely Siobhan and am making some more crocodile stitch wrist warmers (for my shop) and a little rainbow colours baby cardi :) I like to have a couple of things on the go at the same time.

I've got a biggish custom order coming up - just waiting for the wool to come in the post (from PurpleLinda in Scotland); I'd ordered it just before we went on holiday and it should hopefully arrive sometime next week. I ordered a few extra bits and pieces too, but the lady in America wanted a matching infinity scarf and hat in pure merino wool (she also bought a pair of wrist warmers in the same yarn/colour) - I can't wait to get started on them!

Here are the yarns I bought while in Italy - yes, we actually went looking for wool shops even while on holiday...

the ones in the photo above were bought from a tiny shop in Venice, which we found by accident! They are all pure wool (and merino wool) except for the bottom 'row' - the sock yarn is a wool/nylon blend and the bottom right is a silk and merino wool blend which is just so so soft!
...and I bought all of these at Mirko Filati in Florence; which was just the loveliest place ever! I think I'll write a separate blog post about that shop as I don't really have time right now and it really deserves a whole post of its own.

before I go I'll just leave you with this photo of me crocheting by the grand canal! of course my crochet went with me - this is the pair of crocodile stitch wrist warmers, which will eventually make it to my etsy shop. :)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

October - part two!

I've been lucky enough to have some spare cash in my paypal account at the moment so I've treated myself to some lovely handmade goodies and I thought it might be a nice blog-post :)

Aren't these wee robins just the cutest!? My lovely friend Carrie makes them and is selling them on her lovely etsy page  here -- they tend to sell out very quickly so grab one while you here

I ordered three of them, and I am soo excited about putting them on our Christmas tree this year - I love decorations that remind me of friends/family/happy memories so these are super-special as Carrie has made them herself from scratch. The detail in them is amazing; tiny even stitches, the little gold feet and the red sequins sewn into the redbreast...they're just adorable! She even sent a free gift - a small but perfectly formed red love heart tree decoration with miniscule cross-stitch detail and it's scented with real cloves and cinnamon - our house smells of Christmas already!!

In my previous post I mentioned how I had been acting as a 'mentor' on two lovely EtsyIreland shops - one of which is ClaycatBijou - one of the first things I noticed in her shop was this little fridge magnet, so I just had to treat myself to that!

it's so cute and will have pride of place on our fridge door! She sent me a bookmark as a thank you pressie - it's just beautiful, with red and black swirled beads which she made herself from Fimo clay. click here that's a link to her Etsy shop if you'd like to take a peek!

...and last but by no means least I bought these GORGEOUS earrings from the wonderful Alia at Terramor click here  -  check out her Etsy shop, though she has a lot on her facebook page too! I'd seen her post these earrings on her facebook page and fell in love with them but as I can only wear sterling silver earrings she very kindly made me some silver ear hooks for them :)

They are just perfect - and the spotty bead kind of swivels around, which I hadn't noticed in the facebook photos but which I just love - it makes them so quirky and different!

And I must have been a very very good person indeed because Alia sent me a free gift too! A stunning cord bracelet in turquoise -- don't ask me how she made it but it's very intricate and I love the colour!!!

I feel really lucky!

Finally I thought I'd share a photo from yesterday- you need to click on it to see it properly - it was just the most wonderful day :) I'd driven over to the far side of our bay to Ballinskelligs to meet up with a friend and give her some wools for making hats for charity (I was going to take it to the charity shop but then thought that her and her Mum might use some of it) and then fitted in a little beach combing on the way home.
I really do have a good life :)

Sunday, October 13, 2013


Oh wow, how did it get to be nearly the middle of October already? The ferry finished up last Sunday so I'm now unemployed and trying to keep myself busy with my crochet, beach combing and life in general. It's only been a week but it already feels like it's been a month already, not sure if that's a good or a bad thing!

A few things to catch up on this month....

I was absolutely bowled over to have been contacted by the EtsyIreland team and asked to fill in a questionnaire - they wanted me to be their 'designer of the month' for the month of October!!  oh my goodness! It made me feel all grown up and 'official' :) This is still very much a hobby for me and I think it always will be but being asked to take part in something like this is really validating and exciting at the same time :)

Also in Etsy-related business, I'm delighted to have been taking part in their 'mentor month' -- initially I'd asked if I could have a mentor to help me (as I feel I am still learning all the time) but they asked me if I'd like to actually be a mentor instead! Eeek!! Please take a look at the two lovely shops I mentored lovely handmade jewellery and more! and fantastic upcycled silk purses, ties and more!  I hope I was some bit of a help -- I think all of us Etsy-sellers could benefit from a fresh set of eyes looking at our photos, titles, tags etc.

In my own shop, I'm now up to 115 listings, trying to get ready for the (hopefully!) busy 'holiday' season (as well as craft fairs and the like) ---- I'm also up to 442 sales! I'm still very dubious about reaching 500 sales before the end of the year but you never know - if it happens it happens!

At the moment I'm busy making wrist cuffs - and trying to get them listed -- I have another two pairs to get in my shop sometime later today, hopefully. After that I think I'll move on to more headbands and maybe hats again...we'll see... I could happily just make wrist warmers all the time, but it's good to have a bit of diversity in my shop, and especially at craft fairs.

some close-ups of my wrist cuffs and wrist warmers -- oh I love the colours :) all of these are in my Etsy-shop, feel free to have a look!

In beach combing 'news' it looks like I've found something special!!

I found these shells on Loher beach at the end of September, though I'm sure I'd walked past them a dozen times or more before finally noticing that they were something unusual. It looks like they have come all the way from America! -- we're still waiting for a 100% positive id on them but it looks very likely that they are Dendostrea frons (or frons oysters). I'm sending a couple of them off to a marine biologist who is going to positively id them (hopefully!) and then pass them on the natural history museum in Dublin!

It looks like there's only one record of them in Ireland before, from the 1970s in Mayo, though I'm sure they must wash up here more often than that, just that no-one notices them, or bothers to report the sighting. I'm keeping my eyes out for more now though.

I'd better finish up for now, there's more to say, so hopefully I'll be back for another 'update' before the end of the month ;)