Saturday, March 30, 2013

Happy Easter :D

Time for another update...

I'm back at work on the ferry again - this will be my 8th season there (where does the time go?!); I've only been back for a couple of days but we haven't had any rain yet, which is great. It's blimmin cold though, so I'm wearing lots and lots of my own crochet items (!) and layers upon layers just to keep the cold out. It is lovely to be back again :)

Being back at work though tends to mean that my crochet suffers a bit, as I don't have so much spare time - sigh! But all the time I can I'm keeping myself busy -- right now I've got two pairs of wrist warmers on the go and a flower head band too.

Talking about headbands - I'm really in a 'spell' of making these lately -- they are really practical items I guess (like most of the things I make) but pretty too ( most of the things I make!) I must have made nearly 10 of them just recently - in all different colours and yarns. They're quite quick to make but look nice too, I love making the flowers to go on them.

 I really need to make a couple of these for myself as they would be really handy for windy days on the ferry or for when I'm beach combing.
My biggest piece of news is that I've started selling my bits and pieces in a proper, real shop!! It's 'Chocolettes' in Cahirciveen - Colette makes these wonderful handmade chocolates, which she sells in local markets/craft fairs etc but they've decided to open up a proper shop in Cahirciveen and have very kindly offered to rent out space to local craft producers - including me! I am so thrilled that they even thought to ask me and utterly over the moon to be taking part. :) It's a really great opportunity and a bit of a leap of faith for me -- things have been going ok for me at craft fairs and on Etsy and if this takes off it would be another string to my crocheted bow.

A while ago I bought a bag of twenty brooch backs from a seller on Etsy - with the intention of making crochet flower brooches to sell -- now I'm thinking that these would be something good to include in the shop (and for craft fairs etc too) -- my lovely friend Carrie is buying some felt for me so that I can finish off the backs neatly and then I will get started making them to sell too!!

I did make it up to 105 listings in my Etsy shop - woo hoo! but then had to take down several of them so that I would have enough stock for my space in the shop, so I'm back down to 91 again! I've put my display head in the shop so I guess once a month or so I'll have to bring her home so that I can take photos of any hats/headbands that are to go over on Etsy as I don't want to be modelling them myself!!

I really love my crochet so much - I guess anyone reading this or anyone who knows me can tell this already, it is something that is just 'right' for me; I can't really explain it properly but it just fits me perfectly - back when I used to knit, I was never this passionate or kind of creative with that, crochet feels so different and I love that it's a hobby that I can make pay for itself and still leave me with a little cash for treats. Isn't that just perfect!???

In other news ---- Peter's Mum is tonnes better again, thank goodness; she's on heart tablets every day but they seem to be doing the trick and she is able to breathe a lot better.

The cats are all hale and hearty too - three of the four of them succumbed to the nasty upper respiratory infection and had to be dosed with liquid antibiotics (which was not fun for any of us!) but they all made a great recovery.

I think that's all for now folks :)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

March Update

Sometimes I really think I'm the world's worst blogger - I keep forgetting to sit down and write an update, and then there's just too much to catch up on and I manage to forget something important - sigh...

I'll start with the 'shop talk' side of things - right now I'm up to 87 listings in my shop :) with more to come in the next while -- all the time I'm making, making, making...I'm up to 363 sales (woo!) and my feedback is 288 (all lovely lovely positives!) I've sold two pairs of the crocodile stitch wristers on Etsy and sold a couple of pairs locally (yay!) -- I'm taking a break from them for the time being so I can make some other bits and pieces: they are pretty time consuming compared to 'regular' wrist warmers.

I've been trying to get hold of some of Tivoli's Colour Blend Aran yarn for a while now - it's been discontinued and I can't get it from Springwools (my regular source for all things wooly!) but with the help of google I tracked some down to a shop in Trim and ordered a mini-stash, most of which I've used up already *blush* now I have matching hats and wristwarmers back in stock - please take a look... click here to see in my Etsy shop ;) I really love this yarn, I'm not sure why they had to go and discontinue it - but I bought it in all the different colours that they I now have the white/black, grey/black, red/black, turquoise/black, purple/black, blue/black and turquoise/black in stock! phew!! They've always sold well for me so hopefully there's still a demand for them.         

I bought a set of twenty little glass bottles (with cute cork stoppers) and have started listing them in my Etsy shop now too -- filled with teeny tiny sea shells, pebbles or sea far I've sold two of them :) please have a look here selkie's treasures! I'm having a lot of fun finding little tiny treasures to go inside them and I really hope that they sell well for me.

I still can't get over how successful my little pebbles in the crochet bags are - just last week I had a message from a lady in Canada who wanted to buy seven of them in total! SEVEN!! Who knew that they would be such a success?! Every time I sell some of them it's an opportunity to go beach combing again ;)

 Yesterday I went back to that strand near Portmagee - it's just a treasure trove for teeny tiny shells, sea glass etc- but oh gosh it was cold! You can see the snow on the far mountains, and it kept trying to snow while I was there!
 I found this wonderful 'mermaid's tear' which I will soon be listing in my Etsy shop - isn't it wonderful? It's a really unusual shade of green and I'm not sure what kind of glass bottle it came from, but I love it. I hope it will go to a good home :)
The crows and sea gulls were picking over the remains of this poor spider crab while I was there - I just love the colour and the texture of the claws -- all the little bumps are so tactile!

I told myself that I wasn't going to pick up EVERY piece of sea glass that I found, but of course I came back with two pockets bulging with 'treasures'.

Right, plodding on with the 'non shop' news -- we've got a bit of a sick house at the moment..first Bertie started sneezing and rapidly got very ill so we rushed him to the vet. He was on liquid antibiotics for several days and then just as he started to recover Dinah succumbed -- giving her the antibiotics is a real art in itself; she is such a fighter :( Just today now Pearl's started sneezing too so we've dosed her as well - so far Oscar is alright but we're expecting him to catch it too. Paudie said it's an 'upper respiratory infection' which is lucky really as it means that it isn't something really dire like cat flu (even though our cats are fully vaccinated), but when they have it they are really sick and struggling to breathe for a couple of days before they start to come out of it. It's horrid to see them so poorly but I'm trying to be grateful that it's nothing more serious.

Peter's Mum hasn't been very well lately at all - really since just after Christmas it's been one thing after another; she's been on at least three different lots of antibiotics to help with her chest but hopefully she'll start to improve now. The last time the doctor came he put her on some heart tablets too as she's in heart failure - so hopefully they will help improve her quality of life and prevent the level of fluid build up in her's such a worry with us all the way over here and her over in England: we can't just get in the car and drive over to check on how she's doing.

My biggest 'non shop news' has been our recent holiday - all the way to Marrakech! My first ever time outside Europe and it was a bit of a culture shock -- I've never seen so much poverty, begging etc and all the haggling and being harassed by the men in the markets was a real eye opener. It was a real holiday of contrasts - between the luxury and seclusion of our lovely hotel (Hotel Diwane, in the city centre) and the world outside our hotel door.

I've got too many photos to post on here but click on the link and it'll take you to my Selkie facebook page photos and you can take a look for yourself. I think that gives an idea of the contrasts. It was a really amazing place, I'm not sure if I'd really want to go back -- or if we did, we'd be a whole lot wiser than we were...despite reading tonnes of warnings we still managed to get ripped off on our first day :( but we rapidly wised up and our haggling skills improved drastically. We're now thinking about going to Italy on our next holiday - it won't be as warm as Marrakech was (25degrees! just perfect) but we won't have all the hassle from street traders etc.

 Highlights were the Jardins Majorelle, which was literally like a luscious oasis in the middle of the city -- it was so peaceful and cool that we were there for at least a couple of hours -- it was fab to just find a comfy bench and just take it all in

-- the other big highlight for me was the Henna Cafe (which we'd have never been able to find without the sat-nav on my lovely tablet). The food was great and it was lovely to sit up on their roof and just chill out while the lady did the henna on my hands :)

 isn't it amazing?? it's practically all faded now apart from the designs on the palms of my hands (she put an eye on one palm, for protection from the evil eye, and a flower on the other one, for love)

Finally, my other 'news' is that I'll be back at work on the ferry in just over two weeks - eek! Fingers crossed for some good weather please :)