Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Etsy connections...

You've got to love Etsy. Really. And I'm not just talking about for the way it satifies my earring and ceramic habits.  Every so often it lets you make a great connection or forge an unexpected link with someone on the other side of the world - case in point:

This is a brooch called 'Bosket'.  I made her in October, and she ended up all the way over the Atlantic in Georgia, USA - which  is pretty amazing to begin with - and then I found out it had been bought to go with a fabulous handknitted bag that the buyer had made - check it out here. I never could have hoped or imagined that's how and where Bosket would end up - but I love it :D  

Friday, 17 December 2010

Season's greetings...

I would like to wish everyone who reads this blog a happy and relaxing festive period, and a healthy and fulfilling 2011.

Thank you all for your visits and comments in 2010!

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Bellevue Christmas Fair...

This Saturday I will be selling at the Bellevue Christmas Fair, in the Bellevue Chapel, Rodney Street, Edinburgh from 10am - 12pm.  

If you're in the Edinburgh area and can make it through the snow and cold, it would be lovely to see you there!


Friday, 26 November 2010


I tend to work in a rather intuitive way (maybe that's just a nice way of saying completely unplanned and disorganised!) - I felt first with my embellisher in a sort of spontaneous mess, and then I bead and embroider along contours whispered to me by the felt.  I rarely, if ever, plan layout in advance, and although I usually have a rough idea of the finished overall shape even that sometimes takes me by surprise...

Two cases in point, finished today:

'Cephalopod' - somehow became reminiscent of an octopus!

'Meteor' - some sort of pomegranate asteroid fallen to earth?

Sunday, 21 November 2010

More brooches...

Today I finished three new brooches:
Rudbeckia, Radicchio and Geode.

These have been in progress for a wee while - I purposefully was trying to stretch my 'colour comfort zone' and try colour combinations that I wouldn't normally use, and as a result I found the process more difficult than usual.  The result feels like a bit of a wander through a vegetable patch or geology lesson!

Thursday, 11 November 2010


It definitely feels like winter is well on her way here - so I've been trying to eke out the last drop of autumn inspiration before all the leaves are gone... .

An autumnal gust of wind must have swept through my flat to leave these on my desk!

New brooches - Ginkgo, Maple and Holly:

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Sketching trip #1...

Ever since the creative desert that was art class at my secondary school, where I was told age 11 that I couldn't draw and shouldn't try, I have avoided drawing and sketching like the plague.  I'm in awe of those who can make beautiful images with the sparsity of line.  

Recently though I've been wondering about the possibility of facing my fears and exploring drawing (perhaps more as a means to help with other crafting and making endeavours), so yesterday in that spirit I went on my first ever sketching trip - and was extremely grateful to have gentle and patient guidance from a very kind friend :)

Having the beautiful sketchbook and cover certainly made me feel more at home, and we had a lovely time -  warm and dry in a nice cafe as the November rain poured outside... .

We tried a few different drawing exercises to help me feel less scared (!) - here's my favourite result - drawn holding the very end of the pen only!
It's meant to be the Scott monument and George Hotel behind trees - but to be honest I'm just pleased I dared to try!

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Sketchbook cover...

As you may have noticed, I'm a bit obsessed with making covers and cases for things... :D

Another project that has been taking up room on my desk waiting to be finished is finally complete - a wee 'wrap' style cover for my beautiful new sketchbook made by Hypsela.  I am trying to lose my inhibitions about drawing and to give it a go, and thought a lovely sketchbook and cover might be encouraging :) - the cover necessary because I have so much detritus in my bags and I would hate to damage this beautiful book!

Isn't the hand-dyed fabric cover beautiful?

I went for the wrap idea so that it would fit any small-ish sketchbook and could be re-used once this book is full.

I used oatmeal linen and a felted piece on the same linen that I had made but hadn't yet thought of a use for.

I hemmed the linen, sewed on a lovely laquered button and added a thin kumihimo braid for closure.  Then I beaded and embroidered the felt to finish it off. 

Running, split, bullion knot, colonial knot, seed, detached fly, woven spider's wheel and detached chain stitches:

She will be getting her first outing tomorrow on my maiden sketching trip!  *gulp*

Sunday, 31 October 2010


I've been very excited this week at the arrival of my Kindle e-reader.  Of course the first thing I had to do once it arrived was to make it a protective case...!

I decided to make a two-part case - a padded protective one for everyday storage and a 'hardback' case to protect the screen when I'm carrying it around in my bag.

For the inner soft case I used some of my precious vintage Japanese kimono fabric that I got at a temple market in Kyoto back in 2007 - this is one of my favourites with stylised Japanese clouds in cream on burgundy.  I sandwiched in a layer of wadding, and lined it with beautiful hand-dyed viscose felt from Sassalynne:

For the 'hardback' case I padded pieces of very thick card with more wadding, and then slipped them into a fabric case made with wonderful hand-dyed cotton fabric from AngelicaV.  

I added a lovely big coconut shell button, and some couched threads, hand embroidery, tiny 2mm sequins and glass beads.

I braided a thin 4-tama kumihimo braid and added this as a tie for closing the cover.  The inner 'cloud' cover fits into the hardback cover for extra protection if required!

My first ebook is 'Frankenstein'!

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Autumn winds...

I've been working on another fibre art piece inspired by Autumn.  The season is in full force here - this week we've been having wonderful light especially, and the smell of falling leaves is thick in the air.

'Autumn winds' is a piece worked straight on to heavy-duty vintage upholstery linen - first of all with my embellisher and then with hand beading and embroidery.

To start, I felted abaca tissue, metal organza, wool waste, cotton scrim, linen scraps and silk fibre onto the linen:

Then I added tiny 2mm sequins, lots of glass and metal beads, including some vintage beauties, and then finally lots of hand embroidery stitches:

seed, colonial knot, bullion knot and detached fly:

running stitch in the form of Japanese stylised wind:

and detached chain stitch (the tiny gold ones in the middle top):

to make the finished piece:

I have rather enjoyed working on the vintage linen with its stains and faults - it is very satisfyingly thick and I think the irregularities add to the texture and feel of the piece.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Etsy packaging...

Another thing I have recently revamped slightly is my Etsy order packaging.  As a buyer on Etsy I really appreciate lovely packaging and I have always tried to make the packaging for my own work pretty but as sustainable as possible.  I've recently tried to update everything, and here is the latest incarnation that will be rolled out with all new pieces:
The large box is for brooches and necklaces, the smaller for earrings and bracelets.  The boxes are recycled, and reuseable - I used to stamp my 'KT' logo on boxes but have decided instead to go with a sticker to decorate the box, which I hope makes it more reuseable.  Around the box is some black organza ribbon, folded into a bow and secured with thread and some small beads.  With the box goes an origami crane, a moo minicard, and a recycled kraft card on which I write a short thank you message.  These all go into a wee glassine envelope.  Finally it all goes into a pink and white striped paper bag (the sort you used to get penny sweets in!).  I send it all off in a Jiffy Green padded envelope, which is recyclable.  

I'm always on the lookout for new packaging possibilities, and have had some wonderful inspiration from many fellow Etsy sellers who come up with some beautiful and original ideas.  My favourite packaging so far has been from tinctory (no longer on Etsy but now here) and bullfinchbarbury - both were for beautiful pieces of jewellery and the packaging was the icing on the cake!

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Bosket and Namida... and believing in your own work!

I'm beginning to gear up for fully reopening my Etsy shop with revised photos and pricing.  It's something I've been thinking about (and struggling with) for a long time - the different ways to value one's work and having the confidence to do so.  After some while, and many helpful discussions with myself and other friendly ears (you know who you are - and thank you!) I have decided that it's time to support my own work more strongly.  

One of the main ways to do this unfortunately involves money - price often being construed to equal value (although often not actually the case) - but when your work is in the public sphere I do think this has to be taken into account.  There is so much information and advice available on the internet regarding pricing - what factors need to be taken into account and so on.   By the time you have factored in supplies and time often the numbers just don't add up to a feasible amount.

When I first started out, I couldn't believe that anyone would actually want to buy my work - I loved making it, but the process was the goal for me and the end result it was sort of extraneous in a funny kind of way.  Now over the months and years, I feel my skill has developed and so has my confidence (in myself and in my work) which means now that I can better value the time, care and skill that I put into the pieces that I make - pieces that I feel are beautiful and original.  This isn't meant to sound like blowing my own trumpet (so apologies if it does!) but rather it's an understanding that is very significant for me personally as well as for my work.  If I don't believe in it, who else will?!

It still feels all rather nerve-wracking though, particularly as another goal that I have set myself is to approach some galleries and boutiques in Edinburgh to see if they would consider selling some of my jewellery... *gulp*! I plan to do this after my shop is sorted out... and I'll let you know how it goes!

So anyway, back to the crafting - amidst all of this soul-searching I have actually been making things too :P - today I finished two brooches:
(loving this word - just learned it today - it means a clump of small trees or bushes :D)

and Namida (which is Japanese for 'tears')

Monday, 11 October 2010

Birthdays and inspiration...

The big project I've been working on recently has been a fibre art piece for my sister's birthday, which was on Saturday.  

My sister chose the general colour scheme - a mixture of blue-grays and greeny-turquoises with a hint of pink - inspired by some beautiful silk laps we picked up from the Oliver Twists stall at the Festival of Quilts.

So, first of all, using a natural linen background, I felted the silk laps along with cotton scrim, silk/metal organza, silk throwsters waste, abaca tissue, silk fabric, silk cocoon fibre, wool nepps, silk carrier rod fibre and silk threads.

 I left some silk threads loose so that I could stitch them afterwards:
Then I added my current favourites - tiny 2mm sequins...
...and very many glass and metal beads:

 ...and finished off with lots of hand embroidery - running and detached chain stitches:
 bullion and colonial knot stitches:
 detached fly stitch:
 seed stitch: make the finished piece:

Apart from working on this project I have been busy being inspired on a short trip to Skye - breathtaking!

Saturday, 2 October 2010


It's truly feeling like autumn proper here in Edinburgh now, with dark mornings, chill winds, falling leaves and beautiful colours.  I love it :D

It is inspiring lots of autumn-themed projects!

Yet another autumnal work in progress!

Tuesday, 28 September 2010


I've recently been thinking hard about my Etsy shop and my jewellery-making in general, and have made some decisions about the direction I'm going to take (more on this to follow in a later post!).

As a result I have decided to hold my very first sale in my Etsy shop - selected items from my older jewellery design ranges will be available at a substantial discount, starting October 1st 2010.

This is a precursor to me slightly revamping the shop, and and reconsidering difficult things like pricing structures and packaging.

So, if you would like a tastykaeru original at a bargain price, check out my Etsy shop from October 1st - the sale will run throughout October.

Sunday, 12 September 2010


Here is the second of my linen experiments, an opportunity to try out a few ideas in preparation for a bigger project (more details on that anon!).   This time, using a palette of grey, silver, teal and pink, I worked onto the felt/linen... 

...adding tiny iridescent 2mm sequins...

...wee labradorite chips...

...and glass and vintage metal beads, as well as running, bullion knot, colonial knot and detached chain hand embroidery stitches.

Again this is just a small piece, fitting into a 6 1/2" x 4 1/2" aperture frame:

Saturday, 11 September 2010


Recently I had an experimental session felting onto upholstery linen for the first time, using small scraps left over from other projects.  ... although slightly tricky and needle-bending, the linen is very satisfying to work with, and I feel the muted natural colour of the fabric brings out the colours of the fibres.

I was working with a wonderful selection of hand-dyed fibres that I picked up at the Festival of Quilts (called a  'texture pack'), made up of scrim, viscose felt and other goodies.

I was quite surprised to find that the linen took to the felting quite well:

Then of course came the beads, couched threads and embroidery:
It measures about 11cm x 8cm. 

What I learned this time was that yes, I really should have used a hoop for the beading and embroidery (I hate using hoops but linen this thick is just such a nightmare to get flat...), and that next time I would use a slightly lighter-weight linen to felt onto.

I got a bit carried away during the linen felting session though, so I have a few heavier-weight pieces to finish first - details to follow!

Thursday, 2 September 2010

The reel thing...

When my Dad visited recently he bought a rather large box full of interesting things, amongst which were several pieces of driftwood.

We have been collecting driftwood in one way or another for as long as I can remember, so now there is quite a stash in my Dad's workroom.  We have been trying to think of a good project to use it on but hadn't had many viable ideas.

Then, recently, whilst trying to tidy (!) my own crafty stash I started thinking about all of my thread spools and whether there would be a way to store them more accessibly and visibly - to see them all at once for colour inspiration.  I started thinking about some sort of wall-hanging-spool-tidy, and drew a few sketches which I sent to my dad for suggestions (thanks Dad!).  The idea gradually developed, and then we realised we would finally be able to use some of the driftwood!  Hurrah!

Here's what we came up with:

(it was my Dad's idea to call it 'the reel thing', honest)

I really like the mishmash of different types of spools and it's great to see all the colours together.  I'm hoping it will inspire me to develop my machine embroidery skills!