Yes, I’ve been swapping again! I have been a quiet Picky Miss over the summer – on the blogging front, anyway; everywhere else it’s been chaos. But now school’s back, holidays are over, and it’s time to get back to work. Or play. Call it what you will (and I’m very lucky that those two words are interchangeable).

Mmm, yum. Can you tell what it is yet?

So, my first fun of the new academic year has been swapping stuff. I loves craft swaps, they are so much fun. You make something for someone, they make something for someone else, they make for someone else, and so on, until it comes round and someone makes something for you. I’m a member of the Phat Quarter Flickr group, and they run a themed swap every time there’s a fifth Friday in the month. In July, the theme was “food”. My swap giver contacted me and asked if I liked Mexican food, whereas I took the more indirect (and possibly sinister) route of looking through my swap receiver’s Flickr pics to guage what kind of thing she liked. It looked to me like she was a Doctor Who fan (all the best people are), so I set my geek brain to maximum and came up with this cross stitch sampler

And after several scintillating emails about Salvaged Mutiny‘s attempts to find a post office whilst cruise-ship-working her way around the Baltic (‘I went to the post office in Helsinki but it was closed; I’ll try again in Copenhagen’?!), I received this piece of Mexican craziness

I'm Nacho Mama!

I *LOVE* it! I confess I was a bit thick, and didn’t get the joke until my brother said it out loud, but it makes me smile every time I see it 🙂

And because I can’t get enough swappety fun, I signed up for a Facebook-based ‘handmade’ swap at the beginning of the year. I have to make five things, and completed numero dos last week: a Neverwhere (Neil Gaiman) quote worked in cross-stitch. I think it’s a sentiment we can all relate to at some stage 🙂

Phantoms Siren has said she’ll hang it so it’s the last thing people see as they leave her house. Awesome.

Numero uno can be found on Flickr, but it’s a bit naughty, so I won’t display it here. I love the surprise element of swapping – you never know what you’re going to receive in return. I also love the challenge of being given a broad theme and just running with it (I made this for the last Phat Quarter swap – the theme was music

based on a bluegrass tune and my swap partner’s crows-in-flight tattoo). I especially love using the medium of a traditional cross stitch sampler to create something personal and (preferably) geeky 🙂 I do them to order, so get in touch if you’d like to commission a bespoke, unique gift – for someone else, or for yourself! I’m currently working on a C’thulhu quote sampler; I’ll let you all know when it’s done.

In the meantime, it looks like September has a fifth Friday! I’d better keep an eye on my Flickr and see what comes up 🙂

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I’ve been stitching for a while now, just for fun, but recently people have been asking me if I do, or am willing to do, more custom stuff.  Well, you’ll be pleased to know, the answer is yes!

It’s easy enough to find a cute kitten or country cottage cross stitch, and if you look long and hard enough you may well stumble upon just the right ‘inspirational quote’ for that hard-to-buy-for relative.  But what if you want a present that’s just a bit unusual, for someone who likes… Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or Super Mario, or antique typewriters?  Well, your troubles are over, because I *love*  what is affectionately known as “Geek Craft”.   I love it!

There are some stitchings already available in my Etsy shop, but if you’re after something more personalised, please get in touch.  I can do pictures

Ryu: always my favourite Streetfighter champion

 

or quotes

(From Firefly)

 

The thing I love most is (more…)

I had to reassure these huddled monsters today, that just because nobody bought them at the Christmas craft fair, it doesn’t mean they are destined for a life unloved. Poor things, they do worry.

L-R: Slightly, Tiny Tim, Daisy, Bridale

If you wish to adopt one of these cuddlies, you’ll find them, and others, in my Etsy shop. Or I can make a special monster just for you (or someone else), just ask. Go on, have pity on their small and troubled minds.

New monsters and monstery things for sale on my DaWanda site, so get yourself over and have a look.

And as wedding season approacheth, don’t forget I also do personal commissions. Don’t want to be the one to give the happy couple another toastrack or fondue set? Why not get them a happy couple of monsters! Please get in touch and we can discuss colours, what they like/dislike, what their hobbies are, and so on, so that I can design you (and them) something really special.

You’ve heard of/seen all the top-of-the-range silver and stainless steel that is Made In Sheffield. Well Picky Miss is proud to announce that all you see here is Made In Hillsborough! I now have permission from Hillsborough Forum to use the new logo on all my products.

Designed by local artist Emma Metcalfe, the logo was launched last week, and let’s hope it goes from strength to strength 🙂
You can also follow its progress to fame and fortune on Twitter #MadeInHillsborough

I was recently invited by the amazing and inspiring storyteller Shonaleigh to create some monsters for a residential workshop (Walking the Wild Woods) she was running for other storytellers. She said this workshop is all about change, and learning to see the extraordinary in the ordinary. She asked each participant to send, along with their payment, and paperwork, and all that gubbins, a sock, and a brief biography of themselves. I was then given these socks, and these stories, and used them to create a monster for each person, which I hope in some way reflected a little of their personality. The ordinary became the extraordinary.

'Nooo, we're not supposed to play with matches, we'll get in trouble' 'Ah come on, they'll never know. Hey, watch this...'


When the monsters were presented, halfway through the course, the reactions of their new owners just gave me the biggest buzz 😀 Everyone was amazed, and thrilled. And really, that’s what I love the most about sock monsters, their unfailing ability to make people smile.

'I want to watch Noggin the Nog' 'You chose last time!' 'Give me that'

I’d love the opportunity to do another project like this, so if you know anyone who’d be interested, you know where to send them!

I got you, babe

Phew, I’m certainly better with sewing than I am with computers! But now, finally, you can view the complete guide to ordering your very own sock monster. Or even one for someone else, if you’re feeling generous. Check out the “Buy monsters” link on the right there. It’s really very simple. Go on, you know you want to. Because you know what, I think it’s high time people started giving socks for Christmas again 😀

elephant

I never forget the last Christmas posting dates for Africa