A trip to Country Living’s Spring Fair

A couple of weeks ago I received an email from Crafting Fingers‘ blog announcing a competition to win tickets to Country Living UK Spring Fair 2014. I thought I would give it a shot and enter. I had forgotten all about it and then one day I received an email saying I had won two tickets – just in time for a Mother’s Day outing. So today I made the trip with my mother and sister to Islington and the huge London Business and Design Centre for the fantastic Country Living Spring Fair. CK14Walking through the entrance once you have collected your handy Country Living bag it hit me with how much work had gone into creating the perfect atmosphere for the Spring Fair. 2014-03-22 12.45.56 2014-03-22 12.47.53The first stall I made a beeline to was Eliza Wray‘s packed full of quirky and cute range of gifts and home-ware.

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I loved these Tim Burton inspired dolls by RubyRuth.

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I was wowed by these on trend fauxidermy felt heads by Maileg!

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And love love loved these animal themed felt slippers by Sew Heart Felt.

There were many countless stalls of fabulous of craft, clothes, accessories, food and much more. Here are just a few of my favourite finds…

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The fair was brimming with inspiration and friendly stall holders who are happy to share their passion for what they do.

There is also a delectable food hall with countless tasters and nibbles to munch on. Also a Whittard‘s tearoom and of Green & Black‘s chocolate showcasing their new mouthwatering flavours.

I love the spring feel of the fair. There were flowers, trees, streamers everywhere you looked and bedded in some hay two adorable orphan 9-day-old lambs.

SpringThere are also various demonstrations which are ongoing throughout the day. I attended one by 2013 Great British Bake Off winner Francis Quinn. She was charming and funny as she demonstrated how to make your own marzipan from scratch and create your very own sweet honey bees, which she had made in the Bake Off final.

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The space was packed out with people craning their necks at the back to catch a glimpse of Francis’ creative make. Her presentation was down-to-earth, refreshing and I was left feeling most inspired to have a go at creating some bees of my own using her simple recipe and techiques.

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There were also fun workshops to get involved in during the day. My sister and I attended one entitled Easter Ideas by the lovely Jane Means.

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Jane Means, ribbon designer and gift wrapping expert, has wrapped for the likes of Chanel, Liberty’s and for the Baftas. She is a very talented lady who in fact has a book coming out soon by publishers Jacqui Small and I can’t wait to get my hands on it!

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Her great little half-an-hour workshop came with all the bits we needed to learn about how to wrap with dainty pleats and make pretty pinwheels. She also went through ways of getting creative with your wrapping by adding ribbons and lace, how to give a cheap easter egg elegance and ways in which, to create an easy easter displays with feathers and eggs. It was a great workshop and I picked up alot, which I will take away with me and hopefully remember next time I am wrapping a gift.

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I had a great time at the fair and we all thoroughly enjoyed and recommend it if you fancy a handmade day out. Of course I didn’t come away empty handed purchasing some coconut buttons, fabric stamp kit, Liberty fabric offcuts, ribbons and paper and basil infused olive oil. I also picked up many postcards from the stalls, which inspired me most and I will store them away to browse on a rainy day.

Thank you so much Crafting Fingers for the opportunity to win such a wonderful day out!

Happy stitching!

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Moving to the Big Smoke

I have recently moved to the bright lights and big city of London. Having lived in Devon for the past 5 years I wanted a change and couldn’t resist all the new crafty opportunities. I have been doing my research and there are so many gorgeous craft shops, crafty courses and events in London – it as a crafter’s paradise. I will miss the rolling hills and seaside lifestyle, I have come accustom too, but it was the right time in my life to uproot and settle somewhere new.

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Just a small hint of where I will now be working….

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Yes you have guessed it Quadrille! I am so excited to be working with the people behind such beautiful books and by some of my favourite crafty people. I am sure my blog will continue to be filled with craftiness with all the endless fabric and yarn shops to explore.

Happy crafting,

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Guthrie & Ghani – Haberdashery Heaven

A couple of weekends ago on a Saturday I made the trip to Moseley Village to check out Lauren Guthrie’s  gorgeous haberdashery shop. You may have heard of Lauren Guthrie from the Great British Sewing Bee last year on BBC2 I always admired her creativity on the show  and ever since I found out she had a haberdashery shop, I have been aching to visit.

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The first thing you notice on arrival is the beautiful building which is home to Guthrie & Ghani and then the pretty pink door. The shop is large and spacious and full of crafter’s treasures. I love the colours of the fabrics and the ingenious way they have been chosen to be displayed the fat quarters in an old, vintage suitcase – it truly is a haberdashery heaven.

I was overwhelmed by the selection of ribbons, lacy trims and bias binding in the middle section. But then if your turn to the left of the room you will discover a sumptuous fabric selection. It is evident as you peruse the fabric selection that the choice of fabrics has been made with much thought, care and devotion and it is all divine. I saw more than 10 fabrics I would have happily taken home with me if I were not on a budget.

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It doesn’t stop with the shop as up the stairs there is a bright and airy  studio where Guthrie & Ghandi hold various workshops. To find out what they are offering check out the website. There is a variety of different crafts to try from beginner to advance I know the next time I am home I will be signing up to their Beginner’s Dressmaking course.

Of course there was no way that I could visit such a gorgeous shop without some crafty goodies for myself.

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While I had visited, originally,  to buy fabric and treat with myself with some pretty trimmings. I instantly fell in love with this simple, yet stunning mushroom fabric and then there is Emma Hardicker striking screen printed fabric. I think I will have to do something very special with these.

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This one caught my eye and I was instantly in love. Its geometric pattern captured in a pastel green is utterly fabulous. I think I will have to go back for more. I had seen the yellow spot on a calico background on one of Lauren’s blog posts wheres she used it to make a pretty skirt.

I was charmed by the friendly shop assistant and the wonderful selection purse and bag frames. Intrigued and persuaded that making a small was achievable with help from Lauren’s tutorial  on her blog and worse comes to worse a possible purse making workshop. Therefore I bought myself a 4 inch snap frames and a pastel green ric rac to decorate.

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…and of course bias binding with a lacy trim.
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So as soon as I got back my sister and I sat down and started creating our purse using Lauren’s great  Snap Frame Purse Tutorialbut that is another blog post…

So if you are ever in the West Midlands and looking for a fabric shop or some crafty inspiration – do not hesitate to visit Guthrie & Ghandi.

Happy crafting,

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Christmas Craft

Christmas has come and gone once again and now we are well into the new year. I hope 2014 will be full of craftiness and cakes. But for now I want to reflect on Christmas crafting of the year that has just past.

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I love Christmas for the family time, food and decorations. Cosy nights in playing Monopoly by the fire or snuggled up crocheting watching a Christmas film – is what I live for. I particularly love the build up to the big day and personally selecting or making gifts for all my family and friends.

Making my list at least a month in advance, I plan and craft in anticipation for the big day. This year I made plushie Christmas houses, crochet snowflakes and button Christmas trees. I was inspired to make my gifts by simple decorations I saw, when shopping in a local little interiors shops.

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My little Christmas houses are very simple to make and could be adapted to be a house for all year round.

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Simply draw two rectangles and two triangles in to different fabrics of your choice. Then cut out a curved door from a patterned fabric, cut out two holly leaves from contrasting felt  and select buttons to act as a berry  and a door knob. Appliqué on the door, holly leaves and buttons. Then machine sew or hand sew together one triangle and rectangle until both sides are complete.  Then sew together both sides before turning it inside out. Stuff and sew up the bottom and Tah Da there you have it a cute little Christmas house decoration.

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For the crochet snowflakes I used Attic 24‘s fantastic and easy-to-follow crochet snowflake tutorial. What makes this tutorial so good is it’s the step-by-step guide which is accompanied by pictures so you can’t go wrong. This great little tutorial works up really well in glittery yarn and makes perfect tags on carefully wrapped presents.

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As for my button trees these were simply created by drawing a simple fir tree design and then cutting it out of felt.  Sew on chosen buttons which compliment each over, stuff and sew up. These are so easy to make and as a lover of buttons I think they look really great, especially once they have been attached with thread and hung up on the tree.

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Christmas is a prefect reason just to sit down and get your needles and threads out. Making gifts for my loved ones is something I get the most pleasure in doing and giving.

I often look to Christmas craft books for inspiration. In particularly I love Cath Kidston’s Make Your Own Christmas Decorations and Mollie Makes: Christmas. These books are full of festive ideas and makes. Cath Kidston book also comes with all the felt and threads you need to sew one of each of the decorations in the book. Here are two I made last year:

Christmas Decorations

So next Christmas before you get out your purse and log in to your Amazon account to purchase all your Christmas gifts, stop and consider making your own.

Happy crafting!

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Crazy for Chevrons

In September I was gripped by chevron fever and have been crocheting them ever since. I am currently working on my fifth crochet chevron cushion I have come to the realisation that I am completely charmed by chevrons.

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Simply by changing your yarn colours you can create striking patterns and what’s more they make gorgeous gifts for your friends. I used a pattern from Dotty Doily and had the pleasure of her expertise as I embraced the new challenge.

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As a crocheter I started out stitching granny squares, which came to me naturally, but I have always been reluctant and impatient to follow patterns (something I am still learning to overcome). However, having gazed in wonder at the beautiful crochet cushions and chevrons featured in Mollie Makes I was determined to have a go. Nothing came of it, apart from my growing frustrations so I attempted to surf the bloggers-sphere and Youtube in hope to find a pattern I could master. Eventually a friend and colleague of mine (Dotty Doily) directed me to her own blog and chevron pattern – it was love at first sight. I took me a short while to learn the pattern, but now I can stitch away without even needing to refer to it – vital for when crocheting in front of the TV or while in mid conversation!

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This is a simple pattern is so addictive once you get started I have found, you can’t stop! There is always someone else who needs/wants a crochet cushion. It is so easy too – the key is in the counting – sadly when I begun I thought I knew it all but quickly learnt that if your not prepared to count your stitches then it just doesn’t work.

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My favourite one to date is a seaside themed cushion I stitched for my dad’s birthday to keep on his boat. I went for a sea waves theme choosing a gorgeous fabric from Tula Pink’s Salt Water collection, Bubble Shells, for the cushion’s underside with coconut shell buttons as decoration. He loved it and I am currently halfway through crocheting my mum a matching one.

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I love choosing the fabric and sewing on a fabric back.  I just feel it brings out the cushion crochet pattern and adds another texture to the cushion. Also it is surprisingly easy to stitch a fabric back. By simply measuring, cutting and pinning the back and front together it takes no time at all to machine stitch them together and Tah da your done! You have one beautiful cushion to keep or gift!

Here are some of the cushions I have made so far:

Chevrons

Happy stitching!

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Coming Up…

Just a little taster of what’s coming up:

  • Crazy for Chevrons – I have recently been inspired by Dotty Doily‘s (check her out!) colourful blog post on crocheting chevrons. I have become obsessed with how easy chevrons are to do and how pretty they look. Here’s a sneak peak at what I have been up to:

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  • Return of Fabric Friday – I will be talking about the new additions to my fabric stash and showing you what I have been making with them. Check out this gorgeous Tula Pink fabric from her Salt Water collection, I bought from StitchCraftCreate:
  • Screen Shot 2013-10-27 at 16.13.36 Woodland Friends – Inspired by the new season and the scuttling squirrels forging nuts in the park, I have been gripped by craft world’s woodland animal craze. I will introduce you to my favourite forest animal blogs and I have even been stitching a few friends of my own. Meet Herbert the Hedgehog who has a love of apples:

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  • Crafty Books I Love – I will be back to reviewing my favourite craft books fro my ever-growing collection giving you an insight and showing you some the projects I have been making!

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  • Christmas Crafts – with almost only 2 months to go till Christmas its time to drink chai tea and snuggle under a half finished crochet blanket and get crafty. This is my favourite season to thread my needle and dust of the sewing machine for. Making Christmas decorations and presents is one of  my favourite pastimes and here is a peak of what’s to come:

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In the mean time here is a little of what I have been up to…

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Happy Stitching!

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Hello I’m Back

Hello I have finally returned after a very long – unplanned – blog holiday. I am now very settled in my new home and loving my job so I am back to blogging once more.

It is Autumn, my favourite season of the year. I just love the changing colours of the crunchy leaves, fallen acorns and wintery walks – what’s not to like! I even have to admit I like the rainy walk home and the chilly nights in with my hot water bottle.

Though I do miss the summer it always seems to go by so fast and I sadly didn’t get a chance to visit my beloved Enstorp this year.

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Despite my absence I have been busy crafting and with Christmas on way I have many crafty plans and blogs to come.

Happy stitching!

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