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Tuesday, 22 July 2014

The Knitted Farmyard, a labour of love

 I bought a book called "The Knitted Farmyard" when my first baby was born with the aim of making it for his 1st birthday and it’s only taken me 5 years to get around to making it! I need a deadline so I ended up making it for 2nd baby's 2nd birthday but it’s really for the whole family, including me! I’m not sure who loves playing with it most. 

I added a needlefelted hill with fox den and rabbit hole. The bridge is crochet for extra sturdiness. I also added a tree which i felt was too big so I cut it down and crochet the wood grains as a tree stump. I did this to the end of the tree that I cut down too because sadly my boys do love pretending to cut down trees! 

I was a great project to work on with friends and family too, my son and his friends all wanted to help and now we all miss making it. We may have to start on a beach scene next to give the farmers a well earned holiday.

If you're planning to make your own, my advice would be to use beautiful yarns because it’s a real labour of love. I found bags of wool tapestry yarns at carboot sales and then just spent a little on some beautiful quality malabrigo yarns which really made it come to life. 

Monday, 24 March 2014

How to photograph your work using your phone & the Lightcase

Things have been busy here, my partner (tile designer extraordinaire Dominic Crinson) and I have been developing something for designer-makers that is going to make photographing small things super easy. It's called the Lightcase and we think it is brilliant! We've been working our precious prototype taking it to makers' studios and it's working a treat. It's basically a pop up photo studio, it's portable and low tech but creates a beautifully well lit space for photographing smaller things. It folds down into a nifty A4 folder and comes with three photographic backdrops - frosted, white and black...

The Lightcase basically came out of a need we both had to take great photos of the things we make for selling and marketing online. We do have a really good Digital SLR but for photographing the little things, getting all that equipment out and setting up a makeshift white backdrop and good lighting all just seemed overkill. We wanted to find a simpler way and so the Lightcase was born! It's made from Polypropylene and it works so well and it's so durable. I just love the way it pops up into a mini photo studio so you can take it to where ever you have the best light available and quickly document your product from a few different angles and upload to Etsy, Folksy, Made-it or whatever e-marketplace you might be using to sell or promote your work.

Here I'm photographing my products from the front with the white backdrop that comes with the Lightcase.

You can also photograph objects from above by placing your phone on top and aligning the lens with the hole in the top of the Lightcase. That way the Lightcase acts as a sort of tripod and you can get really sharp pics of smaller things from above. For taking pics from above you'd place the backdrop in flat as shown below...

What is great is that you don't even need a huge amount of light, the white material kind of captures the available light and traps it there and your phone camera does the rest! Smartphone cameras are pretty amazing these days and this suits me as I'd rather not get too technical, I just want to get good pics and get back to doing what I love best and that's making.

We really believe this is going to be a great tool for other crafters & designer-makers out there. We've even had a few other unexpected Lightcase enthusiasts like Warhammer miniature model makers and teachers who need to document student coursework. There are so many people who could use the Lightcase.

We're going to launch the concept on Kickstarter on the 1st April 2014 and if we can get it funded we can get the tooling done for the first production run of the Lightcase and get it out there for you all. It's going to be really affordable at about 22 pounds or around 35 US/AUS dollars... So stay tuned and if you like the idea go onto Lightcase on facebook and please do share it with anyone you know who could use one too. If you have any feedback at this stage, we'd love to hear your thoughts so leave a comment below.

Kickstarter Campaign Launch Monday 31st March 2014

Like the Lightcase on Facebook to keep up with the campaign


Monday, 6 January 2014

Christmas orders

Happy New Year! Just a little eye candy for my first post for 2014, here are some of the guys I made up for Christmas orders, hopefully they made their way into the stockings of a few good children...

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