Thursday, April 26, 2012

Turkish rugs are the place to be (on)

The James F.Ballard late 16th Century Bursa Prayer Rug. Ottoman Period
 A couple of weeks ago I found myself in Turkey. That makes it sound like an accident. It wasn’t. It was totally on purpose. We went for one week to Istanbul. And the bit around Gallipoli.

Istanbul is famous for its leather work. But I don’t like leather work so instead I’m going to talk about Turkish rugs. Istanbul has many rug shops, and many men standing outside the rug shops attempting to coax people inside to buy rugs. Perplexingly these men kept offering me “student prices”. I’m not a student. I can only assume that I was dressed so scruffily that they concluded I had to be a student. I also wasn’t offered any shoe shines by the hundreds of shoe shine men because of my falling-apart converses. I feel almost guilty.

I don’t actually have any of my own photos of rugs. I kept seeing beautiful examples but I was too afraid to take pictures. I’m such a coward. But I knew if I whipped out my camera then the rugmen would use the opportunity to scale up their attempts to sell me rugs. And then I would buy rugs. Probably plural amounts. Because I am weak. And I really can’t afford even one rug. Plus, I don’t have anywhere to put rugs. So I didn’t take pictures. Instead all pictures are from Wikipedia.

Turkish rugs consist of repeated patterns, often flowers or geometric shapes.

Topkapi Palace, Istanbul
More correct would be to call them 'carpets' rather than rugs. I have rugs in my head because that's what the people who wanted to sell them to me were calling them. Probably because a 'rug' seems more like a suitable souvenir than a 'carpet'.

They were all very beautiful.

More can be read on the history of Turkish carpets here.

A Turkish women using a loom to make carpet
They are often woven by hand, which is amazing.

I do find myself slightly regretting not having impulse bought one. Oh well. There's always a chance of another trip to Turkey.

Monday, April 23, 2012

When crows go bad.

NO Dagger! BAD!

Honestly, I don't know where he got that from.

Oh God, I've just remembered that a group of crows is called a 'Murder'.

I think it might be time to find Dagger a new home. Any takers?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Shiny pretties from Fabric Rehab


My delivery from Fabric Rehab arrived! Yes of course I ended up buying something from there. I have no self control and will very likely have to hide my debit card this month. Only I'll have to be really cunning about it. You have to be when hiding things from yourself.

Don't be fooled by this late posting into thinking that delivery from Fabric Rehab was slow. It wasn't. It was very prompt and gratifying. This bundle actually arrived last week. I was just too distracted by having to go back to work to blog about it. Apologies.

As you can see I bought Snow White fabric, Hansel and Gretel fabric and a charm pack from Moda.

I think the charm pack is my favourite:

'A walk in the woods' charm pack from Moda.
I love the foxes and red-riding hood. It's a good thing I've resolved to hide my debit card because I could easily buy a whole bolt of fox fabric. The designer of 'A walk in the woods' is Aneela Hoey, whose blog I just found. And it looks adorable!

I've already used some of the charm pack to make some patchwork kindle cases (which are unfortunately doomed for an unrelated reason, more on this later).

All in all I am very pleased with my purchases.


Monday, April 16, 2012

A portrait of Lori from RRSAHM

Lori from RRSAHM

As well as Chirpy and Dagger I also made the above portrait last week. I received a shocking lack of guesses on twitter when I asked who people thought my new portrait was of. Not too surprising really as I only just set up the account, have 9 followers and have tweeted about 5 times. Still though.

It's Lori from Random Ramblings of a Stay at Home Mum (RRSAHM)!

Possibly that seems very random indeed. I follow Lori's blog in my reader though. And I was inspired by her recent (ish) postings on having her hair cut short and issues of femininity

Also, I just wanted to make something to give her to make her smile. I really hope this achieves that. This is what I want the internet to be - random strangers reaching out to make each other smile.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Chirpy and Dagger

Chirpy and Dagger
I have a week off because it's the Easter holidays here in the U.K.. I'd planned all kinds of wondrous projects to complete in this time. Sadly though, with my talent for bad timing, I became sick and have spent most of this week huddled under a blanket, feebly clutching a hot water bottle and whimpering. Oh, and watching some truly terrible films (Wolverine).

However, in amongst my bouts of feeling sorry for myself I did make these two chaps. They have brooch pins on their backs. They're made from a pattern of my own design and despite the pattern being identical Dagger has come out looking evil. I think it's because his eye turned into a French Knot.

I named him dagger because he's always eyeing Chirpy as if he'll stab him in the back if I'm not there watching over them. And because he looks evil. When it comes to crows, always judge by appearance.

Dagger wanted me to call Chirpy 'Cloak' so that their names together would sound 'cool'. Sorry Dagger but there is no way Chirpy can pull off 'Cloak'. He looks like if you even gave him a cloak he'd get trapped in it. What he is, at best, is mindlessly optimistic. So I have named him Chirpy.

Just look at that photo. Two minutes on the map and Dagger is already entirely in control of Brasil. And Chirpy is in the ocean. This says it all. I think it may have been a mistake to let Dagger have access to the Atlas. I think he's getting ideas. He's certainly looking quite schemey.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

I Spy..... Fabric Rehab

Image from Fabric Rehab website

I recently stumbled upon a new (new to me) online fabric shop. Oh the danger! It's called 'Fabric Rehab' and sells all kinds of pretty fabrics. I especially love the range of Japanese fabrics they have. They stock, among others, fabrics from Alexander Henry, Robert Kaufman, Moda, Michael Miller, Kokka, Cosmo, Stof and Daiwabo.

I can sense my debit card weeping at this new discovery. Muha.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Etsy shop is GO!

Current merchandise in the String Empire's Etsy shop

After much struggling with banners, photo-taking, and of course making things, The String Empire's Etsy shop is now open for business! Yay! You can see some of the current merchandise above. So far the shop is filled with felt brooches that I've spent the last few weeks making. Later this week I hope to add my kindle covers.

To celebrate the opening of the shop I'm offering all readers of this blog a 20% discount. Huzah! Just use the following code at checkout:


It's not case-sensitive.

I'm pleased I've finally got this going. Exciting times.


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Happy birthday brother!

Here is a portrait of my brother that I made him for his birthday earlier this week. 

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