I just wanted to say a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year to you all. Thank you to everybody who has supported me, bought my work, or just written kind words this year, it is all so very much appreciated. I didn't really know what to expect when I began this blog in the summer, but I've discovered so many lovely and inspiring people on my wanderings through blogland and facebook, and have made some good friends too (many of you I've never actually met in person - that's the strange world of blogging for you, haha!)
2010 has been a good year in a lot of ways, but some things have also been really tough, but I am so looking forward to 2011 and what it will bring. I have some exciting projects in the pipeline and my head is full of new ideas and new products, which I can't wait to share with you lucky people! :)
Hope you all have a lovely Christmas break whatever you are doing and I look forward to catching up in the New Year!
Had a really busy but very productive weekend sorting and sewing orders and catching up on some household jobs, but I also made this lovely Christmas rag wreath on Saturday night whilst watching my weekly dose of Strictly and X-factor!
What do you think?? I was inspired a few weeks ago after reading a wonderful tutorial on Bunny Mummy's blog, so decided to give it a go, as I've always fancied making one. I'd been on a little shopping trip to Bath on Friday and had allowed myself a visit to 'Country Threads', an amazing fabric shop nestled on a quiet backstreet in Bath. I always end up buying masses of fabric and other bits there, and this time was no exception, I came back with a lovely little haul, including some nice festive red and white fabrics to add to my wreath.
The rest I made up out of scraps I already had in my vast collection, including some gingham and a plain red cotton. Once I'd cut out all my pieces with pinking shears (approx 160 rectangles 6'' by 1.5'' in varying patterns), all I had to do was simply tie each one in a knot around a wire frame, which I made from a piece of very thick jewellery wire. The whole thing only took a few hours, finished off by tying a long piece of reg grosgrain ribbon to the top for hanging, perfect!
I chose only to use a simple colour palette of red and white too, which looks festive but not too Christmas-y that it would look out of place the rest of the year! It turned out so well that I'm now tempted to make a little 'heart' version, which I think would look really sweet in dusky pinks and purples... will have to go raid my stash to see what I've got!
Anyway, hope you like my efforts, and with any luck are all having a lovely, unstressful run up to Christmas (here's hoping anyway!) xxx
I haven't mentioned it much on my blog so far but as well as my textiles work, I'm also a designer for an online invitation and e-card site called Pingg, which is based in the States. In my collection for them, there are designs for lots of different occasions but today I want to share some of my recent Christmas designs, which can all be sent as holiday cards or invites to parties and events over the festive season!
It seems like I've been sewing badges and buttons almost non-stop over the last few months in preparation for Christmas, so it's been really nice to work on some of these digital designs for a change! Of course it does still involve some sewing too, but there is much more emphasis on the computer side of things than usual, which is like a lovely breath of fresh air at the moment!
If you're interested to see the rest of my (ever-growing) collection of designs for Pingg, you can take a look here. Let me know what you think as always... xx
Well I've been promising it for AGES now, so finally here it is... my festive giveaway!
On offer as the main prize (all to one lucky 'fan') is a lovely Christmas-y package of goodies, including a handmade snowman decoration, a set of handmade Christmas pudding buttons, and a pack of six of my best-selling printed Christmas cards (3x Christmas Trees and 3x Reindeer).
All you have to do to enter is 'like' my page, and leave a comment (post dating 26th November) telling me what is your favourite thing about Christmas. Easy peasy lemon squeezy!!
Though for an extra chance to win, I am also offering a special little extra prize for the person who sends the most people to my giveaway - whether it be through blogging, tweeting or suggesting to your facebook friends!
This last bit isn't a total necessity to enter, but if you do, then it could easily be you who wins the (very lovely) special mystery prize, so make sure you spread the love :) Just make sure to tell people to mention you sent them! The giveaway is open internationally and the two prize winners will be picked at the end of Friday 3rd December GMT, so you only have a week to get your entries in:) Good luck ladies x
This might be a bit of a random post, but I thought I would write about what I have been making this afternoon! Do you like it? I finally, finally got round to making up this cushion out of a tapestry I did in the Summer. I really love big vintage rose prints, so was instantly drawn to this design, which is called 'Blooming Roses'. I had actually been outbid at the last minute on Ebay for this exact design, but I later found it on the Ehrman website in the sale for much less than I was bidding, total bargain! It is quite small when made up, about 12 inches by 13 inches, but fits my little button back chair just perfectly.
I'd never done any tapestry or cross stitch (apart from in primary school a million years ago) until my auntie gave me a kit at the start of the year. But I really loved it, and it became a borderline obsession that I did in every spare minute I had! I didn't get a lot of work done in those couple of weeks, and so this one I actually took on my summer holiday to Portugal. I might have looked a bit silly doing tapestry on the sun lounger and at the airport, but at least I wasn't being distracted during 'work' time! Anyway, it's taken me ages to get around to finishing it off, but I'm glad I did as it looks so very sweet!
I'm not really sure exactly what it is that I liked so much about doing this tapestry. I just found it really relaxing and such an achievement to have finished it (it took a lot of patience, good job I have a lot of it!) Many needlepoint designs around still seem to be quite old fashioned, I guess because this type of thing is traditionally done by little old ladies! However, with people like Kirsty Allsopp championing crafts and the handmade, crafts like tapestry do seem to be becoming a little more fashionable and there are now some great contemporary designs available too, like those at Granny Knits, which are very fab and funky!
So anyway I am now once again on the lookout for another kit... maybe in time for Christmas, hint hint! There are a couple of 'sampler' type designs which I do have my eye on, but I guess we will just have to see what Father Christmas brings, haha! x
It's definitely starting to feel festive around here with the occasional Christmas song now on the radio and all the twinkly lights that are appearing in the shops, I do totally love this time of year! Although I started on my xmas products way back at the beginning of May - crazy world - this week the Christmas production line here also seems to have stepped up a gear as people have evidently started their Christmas shopping. I must admit I actually started mine this week too, which is very organised I know, no more rushing around present-buying on Christmas Eve for me this year!
My sewing machine still seems to be holding up, thank god, so have been sewing lots of Christmas badges and buttons this week...
I did have a lovely chilled out day yesterday though with some good friends visiting. We took a walk in the afternoon, tramping through the muddy fields up the hill to the Dovecot and then back up through town, with a little look in some of the shops. I've got a complete and utter weakness for buying pretty tree decorations, I just can't seem to stop myself, and I ended up buying three little wire beaded hearts to add to my ever growing collection. They are ever so pretty, I can't wait to get the tree up this year!
Today though I've been working hard designing and making some new Christmas-themed lavender bags, featuring Christmas trees, puddings and holly. Will be taking pictures of them sometime this week but for now here is a peek at 'work in progress' of my tree design, which I think is my fave of the three.
Anyway, here's hoping you've had a good weekend too and are enjoying the festive atmosphere that's starting to creep in everywhere! Look out for more info on my Christmas-y giveaway coming up soon too - hopefully I'll have a bit of spare time at the end of this week to work out the details... x
Well the last couple of days have actually been a bit rubbish... Nothing major, just lots of little things seem to be going wrong! Mainly my sewing machine which after 8 years of being good as gold, now seems to be on the blink. Have spent a long time faffing about changing fuses and lightbulbs, with a couple of heart stopping moments when I thought it had packed up for good! It is working at the moment, but for how long is anyone's guess. Yesterday I also managed to hit myself in the face with the freezer door, broke my favourite unpicker and got rained on when I went to the Post Office, so not a great day in all. However, there was one thing to cheer me up in my times of woe... this cute little hamster!
A couple of weeks ago, I entered a giveaway on Emma Thomsen's blog It's All About The Fabric. It was an unusual giveaway as the challenge was to work out what a 2D pattern would make when it was all sewn up. To be honest, I'm not very good with patterns, and I quite often just make things up as I go along. My guess (and it was a complete random guess) was a mouse... and it turns out this was the closest to the correct answer, which was a hamster! So Emma has very kindly made up this little chap for me. It is all handsewn and you can really see all the care and attention that has gone into making it; such a cute and thoughtful giveaway prize, so thank you very much Emma! x
It's been a busy couple of weeks, but I just wanted to take a few minutes to let you know about a couple of fabulous giveawaysthat are running at the minute. First up is Kirsty Elson Designs, who is giving the chance to win three amazing prizes on her blog, including this very sweet pair of fabric robins, sitting proudly on their cinnamon stick perches.
The lucky winner will also get a lovely 'fish' keyring, made from one of Kirsty's beach-combing finds, and this gorgeous driftwood boat, complete with pretty fabric flags.
The winner will be picked on Monday 8th November, so visit Kirsty's blog now to find out how to enter!
Next up, is Emily Parkes, whose lovely blog I have followed for a while now. She has just opened her Etsy shop, and to celebrate, she is giving away a beautiful handstitched cupcake artwork, displayed in an embroidery hoop... so pretty!
Emily's giveaway ends on Sunday 14th November, and there are 4 different ways you can enter, so make sure you pop over to her blog now to take a look...
I hope you enjoy both of these giveaways - I have entered both and have my fingers crossed, you never know!
p.s just to let you all know I will also be doing a big Christmas giveaway of my own soon on my Facebook page... make sure you keep your eyes peeled for more details :)
I'm very excited today as my new product ranges, including badges, magnets and lavender bags are now all available on my website. Although many of them have been up on my Not on the High Street shop for a few weeks now, it has taken a little longer to update my own site, but it is now live which is great news!
Over the last couple of months, I have begun to concentrate more and more on little handmade gift items such as embroidered badges, fridge magnets and lavender bags as opposed to my printed range. This is for a couple of reasons really.... over the last year as I have been developing my business, I've had time to work out which products I like making the best, what my bestsellers are and alternatively which things have proved problematic. It has been a big learning curve - and I am still learning for sure, but it is a conscious decision to try a slightly different approach.
Since I purchased my badge maker a few months ago, it has become somewhat of a best friend, and I do think it is one of the best things I have bought in a long long time! Although they can be fiddly sometimes, my badges and magnets are fast becoming my most popular sellers, which is very lovely as I've not been selling them long at all. Working on such a tiny scale is rewarding when you see the finished product and I think they look so smart all lined up on their backing cards... what do you all think? Concentrating more on handmade products, it also means that I don't have as much reliance on printers and suppliers, etc, making it easier for me to control my stock levels. Also, because I don't want to have to place massive orders with manufacturers and printers, I sometimes end up paying a premium for a short print run which isn't very economical. The only downside I guess is that with a bigger emphasis on the handmade and bespoke items, it means more pressure on myself in a way to be able to produce enough to meet demand without my back giving in from too much sewing! I'm sure in the future I will maybe return to having more printed products in my range, but I like that at the moment, everything is made by hand here in my Somerset, with love and care and passion.
Hurray, you made it to the end of my ramblings for today! I hope you like my new products, I would love to hear your thoughts on your favourites...etc so do take a look at my website and leave me a comment if you are passing:)
I am also always looking to have more independent shops stocking my products, so if you have a lovely boutique or gorgeous website that you think would suit my products, please email me at hello[at]jennyarnott[dot]co[dot]uk for trade prices and more information, I would love to work with you! x
. I'm now back from my week away visiting my family up in Shropshire and both my shops are now open again. Had a lovely chilled out week catching up, which was really nice as I don't get the chance to see them very often. Me and my sister Harriet baked some yummy cupcakes together when she came home at the weekend... the icing and decorating part was the most fun - as you can see we were going for the 'anything goes' style of decoration, but I think it works!
The recipe we used for our cakes was taken from a lovely book called 'Bake Me I'm Yours: Cupcakes' by Joan and Graham Belgrove, but I thought I would write it out here in case anyone had the urge to go do some baking!
Chocolate Sponge Recipe (makes 24 medium sized cupcakes)
♥ Pre heat your oven to 170 degrees, and place cases in bun trays ♥ Put sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla extract into food processor and blitz together for 2-3 minutes. Alternatively, mix it all together using a hand held whisk ♥ Sieve the flour, baking powder and cocoa together into a separate bowl and then add to the mix gradually, folding with a spatula ♥ Spoon the mixture carefully into the baking cases (be careful not to overfill, they only need one good dollop of mixture each as they do rise a lot in the oven) ♥ Place tray in centre of oven and bake for approximately 16-18 minutes, or until the tops of the cakes spring back when lightly touched ♥ Turn out and allow to cool before the decorating fun begins!
We couldn't decide on which icing to make, so we halved the recipes below and did half pink, half chocolate!
Ingredients ♥ 225g unsalted butter
♥ 5ml vanilla extract
♥ 450g sifted icing sugar ♥ 40ml cold water ♥ Few drops of food colouring if you want coloured icing
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
♥ 115g soft unsalted butter
♥ 50g cocoa, Dutch processed if possible
♥ 175g sifted icing sugar ♥ 45ml cold water Instructions
♥ Beat the butter to a cream in a food processor or alternatively use a hand held whisk ♥ For the chocolate recipe, sift the cocoa and icing sugar together and gradually beat into the butter with the water. For normal buttercream, just add the icing sugar and water to the butter, beating until the mixture is light and fluffy, then add the vanilla extract ♥ Add a few drops of colouring to the buttercream mixture if you want coloured icing ♥ Spoon the mixture carefully into an icing gadget with a star nozzle to make lovely swirly patterns ♥ Decorate you cakes with sprinkles, chocolate shavings, silver balls, edible glitter...etc ♥ Sit back and enjoy all your hard work with a well earned cup of tea and a cake!
To be honest, we weren't the most careful or professional cake makers in the world, but we had a fun afternoon all the same!
Now I'm not a photographer in any real sense of the word; my product shots are often purely functional. But on joining Flickr this week, it has reminded me that there are some truly inspirational photographers out there - one of which is Dublin-based Éadaoin. I have been following Éadaoin's amazing photo blog 'City of Blackbirds' for the last couple of months now, and her shots are simply beautiful. She has such a great understanding of colour and light, with her shots often bathed in a lovely gentle hue, with a soft focus that just draws you in... magic. Lots of Éadaoin's photographs feature natural subjects, such as flowers, plants and animals, but I also love her more architectural shots of buildings, such as the ones of Paris I have featured here. Then of course there are the cupcakes! Now who doesn't like cupcakes? Especially ones as divine looking as these...
I hope you enjoy these shots as much as I do... if so, you should definitely check out her lovely blog and etsy shop, where you can buy many of her gorgeous photographs as prints:)
p.s. I know there are a lot of photos on this post, but I make no apologies, there were so many pretty ones I just couldn't choose between them... ThanksÉadaoin for letting me share them!
A massive thank you to everyone who has entered my giveaway this month, it is really nice to see so many new faces to my blog.
As promised, i have used a random number generator to pick the winner and here it is...
So the random winner is comment 9, which is Emma, who has a wonderful blog called "It's all about the fabric", which is absolutely packed with useful and inspiring fabric related posts, it really is a must for anyone interested in crafts, textiles and fabric of any kind. Do check it out here if you have a few minutes (although I warn you now that there are so many interesting things to read you will be there more than a few minutes!) Anyway so well done Emma, I will try and email you soon to confirm which set of badges you would like and they will then be winging their way to you very soon:)
Thanks once again everyone for taking part, it's been really fun and I am sure to be doing more giveaways in the future so keep popping back! xx
I haven't been blogging very long, but I have decided that the time has come to have my first blog giveaway! To celebrate the launch of my little embroidered fabric badges, I will be giving away a set of three badges to one lucky reader. The winner will be able to choose which set of three they would like: either cupcakes, flowers or butterflies. If picked, you will get one of each colour (i.e. one pink butterfly, one green and one blue), with each badge on it's own little backing card.
All you have to do to enter is become a follower of my blog and then leave a comment on this post saying which badges you like the best. (The lovely people who are already following me, just leave a comment as usual and you will be included in the draw!)
If you also become a fan of my facebook page - Jenny Arnott Textiles - you will get one extra entry into the draw. Please make sure to leave a separate comment on this post telling me you have become a fan:)
Finally, if you mention my giveaway on your own blog, you can earn one last extra entry! Please leave me a link to your site as proof, again adding it as a separate comment on this post. The winner will be picked at random and you have until the end of Sunday 19th September to enter... Good luck!
Hello, my name is Jenny and I am a textile designer-maker. I spend my days making and creating textiles and accessories which I sell mainly through my various online shops. I am lucky enough to have a lovely colourful studio to work from, where I can hoard fabrics, buttons and ribbons to my hearts content! I have also just taught myself to crochet, so have been blanket making ever since! Thanks so much for visiting, please do say hello if you have a moment, I would love to hear from you x