DIY - Spring time beaded hoop earrings

Thursday, 23 February 2017

If you're looking for a spring time DIY then may I suggest these beaded hoop beauties? I put this beaded hoop tutorial together for Lisa Comforts lovely new blog. I cannot wait to give mine a whirl with my new yellow coat that I've been saving for spring! Click here for the full tutorial, happy making! xx 

The garden - then and now(ish)

Friday, 17 February 2017

Apologies for the motley selection of photo's - these have been taken over the course of three years on various camera's. They aren't that pretty but they are truthful...My latest preoccupation is the garden, yes I still have loads to finish inside but after being cooped up all winter I want/need a change of project. The leaking roof, rising damp and no working kitchen or bathroom paled into insignificance when we saw the garden of our house, it was big for the area and had so much potential - the veg patch! The wood oven!The cut flower garden! The roses! We fell in love and got carried away with our dreams. Our dreams are still very much dreams but I have been sneaking in roses over the summers and Dan has a working veg patch so we've taken baby steps. 
To make things more complicated/exciting the garden is split into two halves the front part (above) is west facing and the back part (below) is north facing. 
Like with so much of the house we've had to get in professional help, we really want to do it all ourselves but with weekends being so precious we've had a great garden man in this week to cut back the out of control ivy, sort the trees and replace the broken fencing. I'm beyond excited as new pockets of the garden have revealed themselves and now I feel like we've got a blank canvas to play with. As we're heading into our fourth summer (which I can't believe) I thought I give a little recap of what we've done so far. 

Year one - we (Dan) cut back all the grass and I removed some of the plants which we really didn't like, mainly conifers. 

Year two - Dan started to build his veg patch, I cleared the greenhouse and began to plant seeds and buy plants for the beds ( I was pregnant throughout the summer so couldn't do that much)

Year three - Dan finished his veg patch and got totally obsessed with broad beans. I weeded and mulched all the flower beds as brambles and bindweed had started to take over. I didn't do too well with my seedlings as I tried to do too many at once but some of the plants I'd brought really started to flourish.  

I've learnt so much over the last few years and drink up any information I can. This year I feel much more confident about what I'm growing and hope there's a bit of budget left to start investing in some really lovely plants. 

I'm not sure how interesting these posts are to you so I'm mainly writing for myself and to keep a record of what I've learnt. I'm a total novice when it comes to gardening but I love experimenting and seeing what works and what doesn't. I'm finding the best way to learn is through trial and error the above was a trial that went right I used a Sarah Raven seed mix for shady places and got a glorious carpet of colour for very little work. I'm definitely going to get some more of these for other beds, I really don't like seeing bare patches of ground so might try one for sunny spots to fill in the gaps whilst I work out what other plants to invest in. 
Now that the garden is clear, my plan for the next few months is to give the above bed a good feed (its south facing and so dry), give the rest of the beds a weed and get my seedlings started. With seedlings I'm trying to plant a few every couple of weeks so I don't get over whelmed and not plant the whole packet, less is definitely more. 

If there are any books, websites or Instagram accounts you recommend then I'd love to hear them - I'm trying to gather all the knowledge I can, have a great weekend. xx

Inspired, February

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Happy Valentines Day! I'm not normally one to celebrate but as Stanley is at my MIL's for a few hours I treated myself to a coffee and almond croissant whilst looking at the sea and didn't have to share any of it - what a joy! 

So onto February, I personally find this time of the year so hard - dark days and waiting for spring really drag my motivation levels right down. After a busy few months I needed some time away from the computer and to not be making just for the sake of it. I think its important for anyone creative  to know when to stop and take a step back. Instead of being inside I've been spending any good weather day outside by the beach or in the garden. I'm finding it the best remedy for the 'Februaries' and if you can I recommend ignoring your to do list and getting outside for a blast of fresh air. 

This month I'm really inspired by the garden, its so full of life - bulbs are popping up everywhere and the seeds I have been 'wintering' are looking really strong. Using the hope of brighter days and signs of spring I put this moodboard together using fresh and pretty colours, it's made me feel so positive! 

On a slightly separate note if you're looking for some new craft supplies I really recommend a trip to The Works, I don't normally rate their craft supplies but their new range is fab. I came away with new metallic string (pictured) and a spool of flamingo ribbon (because who really has enough ribbon?!). 

Have a great rest of month and don't forget to get outside. xx

The Neon Finca - Colourful homeware for January days

Friday, 27 January 2017

Anyone fed up of winter yet? I love candles and fairy lights but I like being warm more. Anyway I thought your eyes might need something bright today so here are some gorgeous textiles my friend is selling in her Etsy shop, The Neon Finca. We took these photo's at the beginning of December and it was a good day, I love anything textile and tassel related so I was in my element shooting these pics. 

I'm always inspired by spending time with my friend, we met whilst we were pregnant (our babies were due the same day) and she has always been so full of support and encouragement. Her energy and can do attitude is so refreshing, no waiting for everything to perfect or i'll do it tomorrow excuses she just gets on with it (she also has a design job and runs a beautiful shoe company, Merle and Morris). I think so many of us (me 100% included) get scared to try something new or just get too comfy that a little more getting on with it is the sentiment we need to start a new year.  

I hope you all have a good weekend, these pictures remind that I really need to finish painting this room! 




Colourful birds

Friday, 20 January 2017

Hooray for the weekend! Dan's been travelling and Stanley's been majorly teething so this week has felt long. Stanley and I were at a loose end one morning so I decided to revamp our Christmas stick with something more jolly. He loves birds (real and fake) so pulled out all these colourful chaps plus some paper decorations and a few lengths of ribbon. We did lose a few birds to his curious hands and some of these decorations are rather crumpled but I think its good for little ones to play with adult stuff (with supervision) once in a while - it stops it becoming so interesting!

I attached some wire between the branches so the birds would sit facing outwards, tied a ribbon around the branches and then added a row of paper decorations - it didn't take me longer than 30mins and I love how happily it sits in the corner of the dining room.

I've put links at the end of the post for all supplies. Have a great weekend everyone. x

Pink and Blue Birds - Talking Tables - (they also have parrots!)
Blue and orange birds  - Paperchase (although not online)
Paper decorations - Try Hema - these, these and these are all pretty
Ribbon - VV Rouleux 

Creating a flexible workspace

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Now that I have my Etsy shop up and running, I feel like I can turn my attention back to the house. Taking advantage of the grim weather this weekend I have given it a good old clean and feel ready to start the week/year a fresh and write some lists. I have seen a lot of people on Instagram lately taking up more creative hobbies for the new year and what with the need to get organised I thought I'd share my ways of creating an organised and flexible workspace. 

Over the years I have worked everywhere from kitchen tables to sitting on the floor, when I designed tights I was squashed in the corner of an accounts department, sharing my desk with a huge scanner - my work areas have all been different. One thing I wish I had paid more attention too was getting organised and really thinking about what I needed in terms of storage. 
Use a trestle table - When I moved into my craft room I knew that it needed to be really flexible and have a good storage system so that tidying up wasn't an all day event. I have a fixed desk where I keep my computer but even this can be extended. For the desk above I bought two trestle table legs from Amazon and a piece of pine from Homebase, I painted one side white and left the other natural (the white side hasn't worked very well if I'm honest, so I have the wooden side up most of the time). The best thing about the table is its really light and can be tucked away, if you are short of space this is a great alternative to having a table up permanently. We've used the legs with a different table top over christmas to extend our dining table and it works really well. 
Keep everyday items close by - I keep the 'stuff' I use on a regular basis within easy reach - ribbons, stationery, jewellery making supplies can be accessed and more importantly put away in seconds. Other supplies such as wool, leather, random craft supplies are stored in large plastic boxes in a large cupboard which is organised but harder to get into. 

I use this shelving unit from Ikea, its really reasonable and the depth between the shelves is perfect for stacking.
Organise by type - This might be a bit OCD but I have my ribbons organised by colour, I like to keep sewing supplies with sewing supplies, paper with paper etc. I find that by keeping similar items in the same area saves going through loads of different boxes to find what I'm looking for during a project and reduces tidying up. 

I use a mix of boxes, baskets and jars - I really like these from Ikea and glass storage jars for sewing supplies and bits that I want to see quickly. 
Don't be afraid to have a clear out - Crafting and hoarding come hand in hand but if a supply isn't working for you it's ok to get rid. Last year I had two huge clear outs, I'd accumulated masses of other peoples craft cast offs and stuff that I'd had for nearly twenty years. I donated and sold fabric, beads and various tools - the space both physically and mentally was amazing and meant I wasn't climbing over scrap bags to get to the good stuff. I clear out on a really regular basis now which means my work room is always under control.
Keep only what you have space for - when we lived in our flat I had stuff crammed into any spare space and on reflection it made the whole place feel really stressful. Despite having more space now have a lot less stuff and I keep only what can fit on shelves or in boxes. Not only does this stop me keeping supplies for 'best' I no longer feel overwhelmed but more creative as a result. 

I hope this has given you an insight into how I organise my craft room, its not always this tidy (ha!) but it is always organised and I know that it will only take me 30 mins* tops to put everything away.

*ok it probably takes an hour but thats because I rediscover things and start planning new projects.  


My Etsy Resolution - Lotts and Lots is open!

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

I'm delighted to announce that my Etsy Shop is now open for business - hooray! One of my most frequently asked questions is 'do you sell your jewellery?' the answer until today has always been a shameful 'no!'. Between working full time, writing my blog, running jewellery workshops, home renovations and being pregnant there never seemed to be a spare moment to sit down and get it off the ground. I have to admit since not returning to full time work to be a mama I've struggled with the idea of not working, I've had a job since I was fifteen so losing my financial independence has been hard to get my head around. I was thinking of work I could do around childcare and in a lightbulb moment, I finally thought 'it's time to start an Etsy shop!' and so it began...If you need a push to get your Etsy shop going in 2017 then you need to take part in the Etsy Resolution. Starting at the end of the month Etsy will be offering a four week online bootcamp offering you all the mentoring and skills to build your confidence and get your shop open. I think confidence is what holds so many of us creative types back but 2017 is the year to get going and stop worrying! 
I found the most daunting part in starting was deciding what to sell, I have made so many projects over the years that pinpointing the right items to sell was tough. I looked at my most popular tutorials and then pulled the pieces that I have made for my friends and sisters, quite naturally a collection came together before my eyes. It needed some updating but I could see what I was working towards. I went supply shopping and pulled out my best jewels and then started to create. 
Beginning  with the materials, I pulled a moodboard together so there was a consistency with colour and styles. Using all the extra childcare available over Christmas I worked over three days to make necklaces, earrings and bracelets. Compared with writing tutorials it was brilliant to be able to work when and where I needed too. As I didn't have any reliance on daylight I could work at night once Stanley went to bed which gave me plenty of family time in the day. Once complete I laid the finished pieces out on a white board so I could see the collection coming together and fill in any gaps. 
When it came to photographing the jewellery I had a definite 'this is what I should be doing moment'. The sun was shining, the window was open and I spent a day photographing everything that I had been making - it was such a good day. I used my flatlay board, some grey fabric and lots of flowers to create scenes. I had looked at lots of Etsy sellers to understand the range of shots I needed, so took a mix of wide and detailed. If photography is something that puts you off then my tip would be to shoot on a bright bright but not too sunny day, try lots of different angles to see what looks best and keep the background clear (no plug sockets or bits of paper). The less you have to edit the better. 
I'm not the most technical person in the world nor the most patient so I was dreading the uploading photos. This turned out to be one of the most fun (and speedy) parts of the whole process, I loved seeing the listings grow and seeing my shop come together. The process of picking a shop name and adding products couldn't have been easier. I loved the copy feature which meant I could copy each listing and just change the images and some of the text. It took me about two hours to upload my 10 products but (I was checking my phone, getting snacks in-between!). I still have some tweaks and want to add a proper about section but I had to go and collect Stanley so ran out of time. I love that now the shop is open I can still make amends and keep improving and learning as I go. 

I'm really excited about finally having a place to sell my jewellery and being able to turn my hobby into a business whilst being totally flexible to my life and childcare. I love being a mum but for me I need to feel like I'm working on something that is independent to the family to retain a sense of my own identity. If like me you are feeling a little lost - you might just be entering motherhood, having a career change or looking for an alternative from the 9 - 5 slog (been there!) then make sure you join the Etsy Resolution. For years I've been searching for a way to express myself creatively and I finally feel like I've found my path. I know that starting is the hardest but make 2017 is the year that you can,  there's nothing stopping you so lets do this together and have fun! You can see my full collection here

This post was written in collaboration with Etsy, all thoughts and experiences are my own.
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