Saturday, 31 March 2012

Spring has sprung!


I came back yesterday from my week away, and feel so much better for it, really refreshed and inspired - it was just what I needed I think! I couldn't have picked a better week off weather wise - it has been gorgeous every day, with blue skies and temperatures into the twenties. It's been more like mid summer than the end of March, though today  it's back to the cold and grey. I hope that wasn't it for the nice weather for the year!

I love spending time with my family, I don't get to see them often enough because we live so far away, so it was a lovely week. We took a few day trips out but because the weather was so nice we also were able to sit around outside quite a bit. I took all my blanket yarn so spent lots of time making squares in the sun, happy days!

Mum and dad also wanted to find a planter for their courtyard, so lots of wandering around garden centres was done looking for one. Needless to say they didn't actually find what they were looking for, but I really like pottering around looking at the plants and flowers especially as the weather was so nice...

 I thought the little coloured watering cans filled with  primroses were so sweet!

I so love spring flowers, so happy and bright and colourful after the dark grey days of winter...

We need to do our garden this year. It is basically just soil at the moment because when we moved in last year it was getting towards winter so we decided to leave it for a few months. Not really sure what to do with it though - it is quite a small space, but sure we can do something nice with it! Need to get some gardening mags/ books really for inspiration.

I managed to make another 90 squares for my crochet blanket this week in between trips out. I've changed my mind so many times on the colours - I started out with turquoise, pink and red (my fave colour combination!) but gradually decided a slightly paler, more Spring like palette was the way to go. I'm still using my Stylecraft yarn, so it was quite difficult to decide on colours which were different enough to the other two blankets I've made, but that would also compliment each other. 

This is what I have decided on at the moment...

What do you think?

It reminds me of crocuses with all the purple, yellow and green so just right for the time of year! I've now done about 140 squares in total. I'm not really sure how many squares I am aiming for, probably around 200 then it will be the dreaded joining together (really not looking forward to that bit)!

I also came back to some lovely post including Master Sorrel...

I bought him from the lovely Jooles of Sew Sweet Violet and I LOVE him!! Such pretty colours and so beautifully made, he is happily living on my new pinboard which I actually made at eight o clock this morning... (Told you I was refreshed and inspired,  I couldn't wait to start making again!)

I just covered an old board with some wadding and pretty pink floral fabric using my staple gun, then stapled on some criss-crossed ribbons and hammered in some upholstery tacks - sure they neighbours were impressed with the noise so early on a Saturday (actually their cars had gone so I'm hoping they weren't in).

Anyway have just popped some of my favourite cards and bits on it for now, though I'm sure I will fill it up soon enough! I love to make spontaneous things like this for the house, I just don't often have time. Some mini bunting is next on my list though whilst I am on a role!

I also bought this....

... after reading about it on lots of other people's blogs. Only had a quick flick through whilst I had my breakfast but it is so up my street - lots of colour, pattern and inspiring ideas, it is just gorgeous! You can buy it here and also check out Selina's fab blog.

I also got another super exciting delivery in the post too - but more about that next week - it will include another giveaway too! Anyway hope you have had a good week too, and have been able to enjoy the lovely sunshine while it lasted! Take care, will be back soon xxx

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Short and sweet... (well that was the idea)


Bet you didn't expect me back so soon... but I've decided little and often is the way forward with my blog! Thanks for all your sweet comments on my last post - it is so nice to know that there are lots of us in the same boat! I've woken up this morning feeling positive and motivated though which is always nice... even though have been awake since six! Karl had to go into work this morning, so I got up, made myself a drink and went back to bed to read and do a little granny square making! I've only done a few so far, even though they are really quick. Having been inspired by both Jacquie and Heather, I've decided to go for solid colour grannies this time and make a kind of patchwork blanket! 

I originally was only doing three rounds per square but then I decided to add another to each, as otherwise they are super tiny and it will take me absolutely forever to join them all together at the end! (Don't even want to think about that part now.) Anyway, I have bought a couple more yarn colours which should be arriving this week, hopefully in time for when I go visit mum and dad next weekend. I haven't really got too much of a plan colour-wise, just making squares and will see what looks nice as I go along!

Apart from the crochet, I haven't done that much over the last few days really. After I wrote my post on Thursday, I took the rest of the afternoon off and lay on the sofa surrounded by blankets, my hot water bottle, some chocolate and watched a nice girly film. It was just what I needed even though I still felt a bit guilty about taking the afternoon off! I've kept my personalised products off the website even though my new embroidery foot has arrived (yay!) to give me some time to catch up on other stuff. Yesterday though I got another large order for my floral mirrors to be used as wedding favours so spent the morning making them up.

I also made up another couple of mirror designs which I have literally just put into my shop... there will be a blue paisley design to match the pink coming soon too but just not got around to photographing yet.

 Love this fabric, it is so fresh and Spring like - Tulips are one of my favourite flowers!
And of course the pretty paisley fabric is also a favourite of mine. Funny how taste changes as you get older actually as I never liked paisley designs a few years, I don't know why... but this one is gorgeous! It is discontinued now but I managed to buy up a few metres of it, so hopefully it should last me a while yet.

 For more crafting ideas, go to

I also made these fabric covered storage pots for the March issue of Crafts Beautiful. This was actually out a little while ago now, as the current issue is the April one, but I thought I would post the pics anyway! I really do mean to make more of these pots as they are so useful for holding bits and bobs and can be made out of any old tins you have around the house. These three actually started out as a cocoa powder tin, a tin of dried milk and a tub of bicarbonate of soda (which were the only things I could find in the cupboard that morning!!)

Anyway, I think that's enough writing for today - it's actually a slightly longer post than I intended, I just can't help myself! Hope you have a nice weekend though and you get a bit of sunshine to enjoy, back soon xxx

Thursday, 15 March 2012


Being self employed is wonderful in lots of ways... I get to work from home, I can decide the hours I work, and most of all I am able to do something I (for the most part) enjoy every day. But it also means that I never really switch off... the laptop is never far away and I always seem to be checking my emails for orders and queries. It is so different from a 9-5 job where the hours of work and the amount of work is constant and set. When big gift and card giving occasions are approaching, such as Christmas, Valentines and Mother's Day, things get so very busy, then often tail off again once the day has passed. These last few weeks have been just that, especially in my Not on the High street shop - lots of mummies out there being given handmade and personalised cards and mirrors!

I do love to be busy, I kind of thrive on it in a way - I'm not very good at just relaxing with nothing to do.  But there has to be a balance between work and 'life' (mine are very much intertwined though I am trying to separate them!) One of my new years resolutions was to make more time to spend with Karl, with family, or just doing other things I enjoy, like reading, pottering outside, or crochet... I did well for a couple of weeks in January, and spent the evenings finishing my granny stripe, but then it got busier and it kind of went out the window!

The thing is, it is kind of silly really as I am in control and it is up to me whether my shops are live and if products are available to order. I could easily put my shops on holiday mode and not accept orders for a while to catch up on things... but I don't! I'm so incredibly grateful that people want to buy my stuff and I still get a little thrill every time an order pops into my inbox! There is part of me that just wants to cram in as many orders as I possibly can, especially as I know that some months will always be much quieter than others. I have had to turn down some commissioned work recently though, I didn't really want to but there is only so much I can take on at once.

It's not as if I am having to work through the night or anything (I really would close my shops for a bit if it came to that) but I haven't had a day off in ages and just feel tired and drained. All my energy is wrapped up in my work and it doesn't leave time for much else. When it is busy, I sometimes feel more like a factory production line rather than a designer/maker.

This post is ending up to be a bit of a moan - sorry I really didn't intend it to be!! I just struggle a bit with the inconsistency where some weeks I am so busy I am rushed off my feet and others it can feel a bit like I am twiddling my thumbs!! In the quieter weeks though, I do try and make the most of having the time, and spend it making stock, designing new products, or just catching up on some sleep!

I have actually had to take off a lot of my products this week, as my sewing machine embroidery foot broke on Tuesday and I still haven't got a replacement. It was a very stressful day as I still had lots of things to make that had to go out that afternoon in time for Mother's day but I was so amazed and overwhelmed with the support and help of all my facebook friends! I had so many people re-posting it for me on their pages, offering their suggestions, offering to post me a spare foot and some truly fab people who even offered to drive over here to help me out!! It really was so nice of everyone to rally round in such a way and I really appreciated it. It can sometimes be lonely working by yourself and to have that support network of other crafty similar people out there on blogs and facebook is great.

I think I might have to find some random pictures to put in this post, it is so text heavy! That's the trouble with never having the time to blog, when I do, I go on a big long rant! I have actually wondered whether to give up my blog... but I do really like this little space and I get so much inspiration and happiness from the blogging community, but it is just a time thing. I used to spend at least half an hour every day reading my favourite blogs and finding new ones but now I'm lucky if I find half an hour a week. Same with sites like Pinterest, Flickr, and Twitter, I rarely use them any more.

A few weeks ago, I did design a couple of new cards actually, here are some pictures to break up the text a little! The first one is a new home card...

and also a wedding card...

...embellished with lace, beads and sequins. This one is quite different to my usual style, probably because the colours are so muted. I have quite a lot of lace, ribbon and more neutral coloured fabrics that I collected a few years ago now, and they are just crying out to be used for wedding-y products. It's quite nice to work with a different colour range once in a while actually.

So anyway as I said before, I have taken all of my personalised products off this week, and will probably leave them off for a little bit, as I have some commissioned work to do and then  next weekend, I am going to visit my parents for a week! My sister Harriet is a dancer and I am going to be a very proud sister and go and watch her dance in a musical on Saturday! Since it is such a long way and I haven't seen any of my family since Christmas I'm going to stay up for the rest of the week which will be so nice... I wanted to start a new crochet blanket before then, so I could take it with me for something to do on the journey, so I  need to do a bit of yarn shopping in preparation I think :)

Anyway, best go get on - I actually tidied my studio yesterday after weeks of complete chaos and it looks sooooooo much better now (at least you can see the floor again!) and so much nicer to work in. Will leave you with a few pictures...

I really need some more shelves - there has been quite a bit of new fabric purchasing going on around here and I'm running out of places to put it all!! Anyway have a lovely rest of the week and a great weekend, will try and pop in again next week before I go away! Take care and enjoy the sunshine if you get any (it's been foggy here for days and it's forecast rain and thundery showers for the weekend so not holding out too much hope here!) Back soon xxx
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