Friday, 27 January 2012

Happy Spring Colours!

This week has been a funny old week, a bit disjointed really - I'm kind of glad it's nearly the weekend! I finally managed to shake off my cough and cold, felt like I had it for months, but now Karl has caught a sickness bug so fingers crossed I won't come down with that too! I shouldn't complain really, as since I've been working from home I very rarely get ill - since am usually holed up in my little studio where germs can't seem to find me! Guess it's just that time of year.

Anyway, I've been busy with lots of different projects this week, including a couple of secret commissions which will hopefully be used for a new craft book later in the year. I've also been sewing lots of hearts and 'love you' things in time for Valentines and making up a new order for one of my favourite stockists Andrea Willis Designs.

But I've also been doing quite a bit of sewing and making for me this week, in fact I'm totally on a roll! Although I don't tend to make proper lists of New Years resolutions, one thing I did want to try and achieve this year was to make more time for creative projects for myself, my family and the house. Although I am sewing and making nearly every day, most of it is destined for other people, whether it be orders or commissioned work, and finding time and motivation to actually make something for myself is more difficult than you might think, life just seems to get in the way! 
Anyway last week I received a lovely parcel of fabrics from the States including some of my most favourite fabrics, all pretty colours, spots and florals.... so gorgeous, I still love the Flower Sugar designs so much!  Plus I didn't get charged any import tax which I thought I was going to, which was a major plus and one of the reasons I'd put off ordering from the States for so long. Not sure whether I just got lucky though, as I'm sure from what I gathered from the HMRC website I should have been charged... Oh well not complaining!! Fabric is so much cheaper over there even with shipping costs that it really is worth it.

Mmmm aren't they just so pretty? :)

Anyway, so I decided as a spur of the moment thing that I wanted to sew a picture for the kitchen! I just woke up on Sunday morning with an idea in my head, there wasn't too much planning, and I made it up as I went along really but I love how it turned out. I used a little wadding and stapled it to one of my canvas frames and hey presto, we have a new picture! We've hung it on the duck egg blue wall and it looks so pretty! It does make the kitchen look even more girly than it did though which I feel a bit bad about but I don't think Karl really notices what I've done about the place half the time!


There is something so very satisfying about making something for yourself, I don't know whether that's just me? In fact I might make another similar picture for the opposite wall as there is a little stretch of bare wall which is crying out to be filled!

Whilst I was on a roll and full of enthusiasm though, I also made some 'happy' bunting for the dresser and some pretty little magnets for the fridge. Now Christmas is well and truly behind us, and the house is becoming lighter and brighter with each day, I am filled with the urge to decorate it with cheery Spring colours... am so excited that the warmer, lighter days are coming again, I can't wait for Summer, I'm fed up of being cold all the time!

I also started to make a patchwork cushion last night but I'm a bit annoyed that I've got my measurements wrong and it is going to be too small for the pad I had in mind. Might just add a little border, or make it bigger and use a bigger pad, not sure yet!

 Still loving these fabrics...

There was also a big squeal of excitement here last week when I got hold of this month's Crafts Beautiful magazine (Feb issue), and saw my little house pin cushion has made it on to the front cover! A few of my recent projects have had little spots on the cover but this is the first time anything I have designed has been made the main picture - so pleased!

Here is a little peek at the project itself...

Don't wait too long if you want to catch this issue as I think the next one will be out soon, and for more crafting ideas, go to

I actually got sent a picture yesterday from a lovely lady who had been inspired to make herself a needlecase using my tutorial - it means so much to me when I get feedback like this, to know that people like my designs and that I have been useful/inspiring, it is one of the best feelings! It is the same when people give lovely feedback about their orders - I don't think they realise how much their kind words mean, but it really is appreciated.

Anyway, this post has taken me ages to write and I'm now starving! Think I will go sit and have a little tea break whilst admiring my new picture :) Hope you have a lovely weekend, thanks as always for popping in to read my ramblings,

Jenny x

p.s I know Blogger is being really weird lately with comments - Just a tip I've found is if you refresh the page/blog post it seems to sort itself out and the comment box re-appears! Don't know if it will solve all the problems people have been having but it's worth a try! xxx

Monday, 16 January 2012

♥ Hearts ♥

Well I'm sitting here writing this with a perfect blue sky and sun streaming in the window - so beautifully clear and fresh it's been these last few days, if a bit bracing... it may be sunny but it's very, very cold!

Makes a lovely change to the drizzle anyway and the better light has meant that I've been able to do some long awaited photography of some of my Valentines products. I've been quietly sewing and making up samples of various things for the last week or so, though it's been quite slow going - I've had a horrible cold/cough/bug/virus for over a week now and boy has it made me feel awful!! Feels like I've just been existing in a thick fog for the last week but the fog is slowly starting to lift now, even though the cough is still lingering on. Hopefully will see the back of it this week! 

So anyway hearts have been the order of the day...

I've cut into my super duper thick felt from Blooming Felt to make these simple heart mirrors, which can be found here... At first I thought they were too simple, too plain, but the more I look at them, the more I like them. Sometimes it is definitely true, less is more!! I'm just not very good at the whole 'less' thing!

I've also been designing a few more personalised products to add to my range. My 'I love...' mirrors and badges were so popular last year so I'm building on that with these new designs - a personalised date mirror to celebrate special anniversaries, weddings, birthdays etc and a personalised couples initials mirror, perfect for Valentines :)

The lovely thick felt came out again for these personalised heart initial badges, found here...

...and then with my 25mm die I set about making these teeny weeny ones!

I couldn't decide how to package them at first but think they look quite cute like this!

And lastly, to add to my badge cards, a simple heart design, which you can see here!

Anyway so that's pretty much been my last few days... the photography and uploading always takes so much longer than I think it will, but nearly there now! As I mentioned in my last post, I'm changing things around with my shops this year a bit, with more of an emphasis on my little gifty type products. I sold off quite a few of my older designs from my NOTHS shop last week which has freed more space in my little studio (though the freed up space has already been taken over by about a million padded jiffy bags and other random packaging... but at least it's all in one place now! )

I'm also a bit behind as usual, but here are a couple of projects I designed for Crafts Beautiful magazine's January issue (last months). A quilted hottie...

and some padded hangers and a little lavender heart...

 For more crafting ideas go to

I did both of these commission months and months ago, so it's really lovely to see them in print, at last, and to have them back again - the heart has a new home on my dresser! Anyway hope you all are having a good week and enjoying the sun. I think our Tesco shopping is here as I can hear the van reversing so  I better go! 

Actually just very quickly before I do go, I thought I would share this amazing photo I came across a few days ago... I posted it on my facebook page too so apologies if you've already seen it, but I think it's worth a second look anyway ;) 

It's of the world's biggest patchwork crochet 'quilt', where thousands of small crochet blankets were joined together on the steps of Helsinki's cathedral in Finland for a Guinness world record attempt! How amazing is it?!! Imagine being there and seeing all that colour all together, I think it's fab! Apparently they had around 8000 crochet blankets made, but they could only fit 3800 of them on... just wow! And on that happy note, have a great week! xxx

Monday, 9 January 2012

Hello 2012!

I've been feeling quite guilty about the fact that I haven't blogged again for so long, which I know is really ridiculous because it really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things! Every day I write or think of little lists of all the things I want to get done and often blogging is on the list but it is always fairly near the bottom of priorities and often just gets bumped off the end!

Anyhow, not to worry I'm finally here and writing and it feels good... hello 2012 :) Did you have a nice Christmas and New Year? Ours was very nice, though pretty low key! We spent actual Christmas here just the two of us, and we barely moved off the sofa... lots of Christmas films and telly were watched and lots of crochet was done! I didn't get dressed properly or actually go outside for 4 days, had baths in the middle of the day and generally slobbed about... after the manic rush of Christmas run up it was bliss and I enjoyed it very much. I  also caught up on much needed sleep, I think Christmas Eve I slept about 10 hours straight without waking up  once which is pretty unheard of usually, I must have needed it!

Then on the 28th I travelled up to see my parents who now live in Staffordshire. My brother Laurence and his girlfriend Rachel had come down from Newcastle and it was so lovely to see them. We normally only cross paths for this one day a year as we live so far away from each other so it was really special. My sister Harriet was at home too - I have to share a room with her whenever I go back to visit and I love our catch up chats late at night. I didn't really take many pictures, I never do, even though I always take my camera, but I got some very lovely gifts this year so I'll show you some of those instead...

Lots of red and white gorgeousness! The tins and mug were from Karl, and the spotty pie and baking dishes from our good friends Bryan, Sarah and Harry. I LOVE them all!! Our kitchen is quite basic and utilitarian in style so I'm trying my best to pretty it up!

Mum and dad gave me lots of lovely little bits - including this gingham heart chalkboard... so sweet, mum knows me too well, she always has such good taste in presents :)

They also treated me to this gorgeous red coat when we were out sale shopping in Birmingham...

Excuse the quite rubbish picture of me doing some headless modelling! Mirrors and flash = big bright flare right in the middle of the photo so you'll have to make do with a grainy shot! But isn't it nice? I really like it! I've been wanting a red coat for quite a while now, but since I hate shopping for clothes I rarely ever find anything I like.

And these beautiful silver heart spoons were from them too..... 

I just think they are so so pretty, I really do love them.

And my last present picture for today is this lovely aqua heart hanging candle holder from Harriet... she also knows me too well :) Hopefully we will be doing the garden up this year - I can't wait to be able to use it outside in the Summer.

Laurence and Rachel also bought me some very lovely gifts including wonderful smelling handcreams and some aqua spotty pjs which are perfect and so 'me'... but they are in the wash at the mo so can't show any pics right now. I was very lucky this year with so many lovely presents, and that people know me so well to choose gifts that I truly really do love.

Anyway, so maybe that's enough about Christmas now, since we are already well into the New Year. I'm not the hugest fan of actual New Year's Eve itself though - I have spent it at my parents for the last few years and it's always a fairly low-key family affair with the traditional board games of Cludeo and Boggle always coming out... This year was no exception though by about 10.30 we were pretty much boggled out! We did manage to stay up until midnight though and watch the fireworks on the telly and in the courtyard outside where one of the neighbours was putting on his own show! Beats some years when we have been asleep by about eleven! I haven't actually been 'out' on New Years for years now - when I was at Uni I would be staggering around the streets from pub to pub with my friends from back home which was fun at the time ;) but I prefer a quieter life now, haha!

As for New Year's resolutions, I do have some (unlike Harriet who has about 4 pages of them!) but I think I'll save them for my next post otherwise this will end up being a super jumbo one again! Talking of Harriet actually, I did manage to teach her to crochet whilst I was up. 

She's not the most patient of people but she got it in the end and made a really cute granny square. She wanted to make it into a cushion cover like the ones I was making but ran out of time before I left so she made it into a phone case instead by folding it over and sewing up two sides, then chaining a little loop to close it. Isn't it cute? I got this pic off her facebook page but I'm sure she won't mind me posting it :)

I decided to make two cushion covers for our sofa over the holiday, and managed to get the fronts of both crocheted up, but I need to buy some bigger pads and decide what to do for the backs. Here's a quick pic of the first, twenty five small squares all edged in white. 

I love how this one turned out, even though I got so frustrated sewing the squares together, I find it so difficult just to catch the back loops. Maybe it's cos my tension is quite tight? Or something... it nearly drove me up the wall though, was so glad it was only a cushion cover size and not another blanket!! (Though such a shame as wouldn't a blanket like this just be gorgeous??)

I also made a co-ordinating one just one big granny square which was so much faster to crochet, just round and round and round!

Despite my best efforts of turning my work as I went and joining the new yarn on different sides, the middle of the square still went kind of wonky! In fact this picture makes it look really wonky!!! It's not that bad in real life and I'm hoping when I block it it might sort itself out a bit.

They are pretty bright and to be honest won't really go with much in our living room (except of course the equally bright crochet blankets I've been making) but I find I don't really care very much if it all looks a bit mismatched, as long as I like it all! Hopefully I will finish them soon... I do have a horrible feeling that they might be cast aside for months until I get around to getting new pads but hopefully not!

Anyway that's about me done for today but will be back later in the week with a more work related post. My shops are all now open again and I am having a massive SALE in my Not on the High Street shop to sell off some of my older designs and every single thing is in the sale this time (only until the weekend though). Will  probably ramble on some more about it in my next post but there will be quite a few changes for my little business this year so I am making room for lots of lovely new stuff and to hopefully make things a bit easier on myself! Pop over if you have a minute, there are still a few good bargains to be had ;) Anyway hope you can enjoy some of the lovely sunshine around at the mo, take care, Jenny xxx
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