Sunday, 28 January 2018

Holiday On The Isle Of Mull, Scotland

Last April Mr Writer and I went on holiday with two good friends to The Isle Of Mull in Scotland. I've been meaning to share some of the photos of this beautiful island ever since, so I'm pleased to be sharing them today! I hope you don't mind this photo heavy post- I think you'll agree that it is a stunning place...

After flying to Glasgow and them driving to Oban, we took the ferry across to Mull, where we stayed in a little village called Salen. 

This was the view just a couple of minutes around the corner from the cottage we stayed in. From here we watched birds and seals resting on the banks in the water.All of us who went on the trip are nature lovers but one friend in particular is a very keen birdwatcher and "wildlife follower," for want of a better word! I shall call him "Mr Nature." We saw all sorts of things because he pointed them out- sadly I don't have good enough eyesight to identify things! We were really hoping to spot otters as Mull is great territory for them, but sadly they alluded us this time!

We stayed in this  lovely cottage, looking out over the water

Views from the cottage. One evening we looked out to see a stag in the garden! We later saw him several times in a field near the cottage with a group of doe deer!

The island is so unspoiled which was lovely to see. Driving along the scenery was beautiful and it was rare to meet anyone else on the roads.

What struck us was the remote way of life- you could drive for miles and miles and come across a house and then drive for miles and miles and miles before you came across another one. There was a small but very well stocked Spar shop near to where we stayed and from there the only supermarket on the island was in the town of Tobermory, and when I say supermarket, it was what I'd call a local shop size. Truly a different and very lovely way to live

We visited the main town of Mull, Tobermory, several times.With its colourful buildings, it is famous as the location for the children's TV program Balamory ( if you remember the programme you may now get the theme song stuck in your head, as we did!). We wondered how the locals felt about their towns association with the program, but several of the shops seemed to celebrate it with displays in their windows.

We enjoyed fish and chips, a tour of the whisky distillery and a meal at Cafe Fish, which is hailed as one of the best fish restauants in Scotland. 

We went on a woodland walk and there was a lovely view of colourful Tobermory in the diustance across the water

This beautiful beach is in the stunning Calgary Bay. The sand was so white and the water so clear and turquoise blue. We spent time exploring rock pools and walking on the beach. We then drove up the (very!) narrow and winding road up the cliffs to see the views

We went on a Mull Charters boat trip to see White Tailed Eagles and we had the most brilliant views of these magnificent birds. Mr Nature took these photos on the trip and he and his other half, who shall be known as Miss Lovely, gifted us one of the photos as a housewarming gift.

I was hoping to be able to find some traditional textiles on Mull and we found out about the Ardalanish Isle Of Mull Weavers. We drove out there and found Ardalanish Farm down lots of tracks with lots of cows roaming all around. Some of them were pregnant and absolutely huge!

It was brilliant to be able to have a glimpse behind the scenes at the weaving process. They spin yarn from the fleece of their own sheep and then weave it into beautiful fabric using traditional processes. I bought some offcuts of Ardalanish Tweed while we were there (I will eventually make some purses from this!) and we also bought a wrap to use as a throw on the back of our sofa. 

The view from Ardalanish weavers

We saw a lot of sheep!

Ooh and highland cows! Casually chilling here by the road. I wish I'd managed to take a video, we drove past a filed of Higland cows, big and little ones, all charging around!

We traveled all over the island and there was not a single bit that wasn't breathtakingly stunning. I hope it stays so unspoiled

And finally our friendly donkey friends who lived in the field across from the cottage we were staying in. They were very cute and came over to say hello whenever we left the cottage.

Phew, well that was a little taster of our visit to Mull, thanks for reading if you made it this far! I hope it's inspired you to visit this amazing island.

Have you been away somewhere recently? I'd love to hear about it, share your recommendations in the comments and we can all add some places to our must visit list!

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

News and New Products

Hello to you and Happy New Year! I hope 2018 has got off to a good start for you. Here's how 2018 is developing here so far...

This year I'm really determined to grow my small business and that's why I've chosen "Grow" to be my word for 2018. This is not something I've done before but I was inspired by this Makelight Advent video to choose a word to focus on in 2018. I've actually knitted the word "Grow" and I'm going to frame it to go on my desk and serve as a visual reminder of what I'm striving towards achieving in 2018.

Mr Writer and I are working on organising the craft/work room in the new house- we have shelving units now and I have a desk. We're getting there gradually! I'm looking forward to having a dedicated space to work in again and also to being organised and knowing where everything is!

This is a "before" picture- looking forward to sharing the "after" photo!

I looked at a lot of desks but chose this one in the end as it has a lot of storage space. It's called the South Shore Artwork Craft Table with Storage on Amazon if you are looking for a desk

While I am extra super determined to work hard and really push myself this year, I have also decided that 2018 should be the year when I take more time to rest and do more non-work activities that I enjoy. I feel guilty to admit if I am spending time not working, such as when I posted this photo on Instagram yesterday of me with my feet up enjoying a coffee and sewing up a little jacket I've made for my niece. Life is to be enjoyed and I realised that it's silly for me to feel guilty for doing something I enjoy and taking life a bit slower. So less feeling guilty this year!

I've been making some new Fair Isle jewellery pieces and I had them photographed by the brilliant as always Hammonds Photography Studio. I'm gradually adding them to my Etsy Shop so they should all be up in the next week! 

I'm looking forward to sharing more plans and new work as the year unfolds. What have you been up to in January?

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

How To... Three Knitted Pumpkin Patterns

Hello to you all! I hope you are all keeping well. I moved house last month and I'm just getting to the stage where I am organised enough to start making and writing again- sorry for my long break! It's been quite a year which has meant that I haven't been able to devote as much time to blogging and making, but hopefully going forward into the new year I can get back on track. As I get more organised I'll share some photos of how my new craft room is coming along.

Mr Writer and I have moved to a different part of Essex and we are enjoying exploring the very autumnal countryside around us. There is a lovely local farm shop that has the most brilliant pumpkin display and that reminded me of the knitted pumpkins that I designed and shared the patterns for this time last year. I'd like to share the patterns with you again as a celebration of autumn and the pumpkin season! I used less than 25g of leftover DK yarn to make three pumpkins so this is an ideal project to make in an evening. Grab some needles and knit yourself a lovely Autumn display! Find out how to make them here

Happy making!

Louise xx

If you make some pumpkins I'd love to see, please share your photos in the comments below!

Sunday, 6 August 2017

New Button Brooches

Just stopping by to share a little shop update with you all today! I'm working really hard to add new pieces to my Etsy Shop at the moment and I'm photographing all the pieces myself, so it's a learning curve, but one that I am enjoying very much. This week I added three new button brooches- two knitted ones in a lilac and a pale blue and a lovely mustard toned Harris Tweed one. They are all handmade by myself and embellished with tiny pieces of upcycled fabric, stitched onto the brooches in gold thread. 

The button brooches look equally lovely worn on their own or as a group to brighten up your favourite cardi or jacket.

Thank you for letting me share these with you today, I hope you have had a fab week!

Louise xx

Sunday, 30 July 2017

The Big Stitch For British Heart Foundation

You know I love a bit of upcycling and customisation, so I was delighted to discover the British Heart Foundation Big Stitch campaign! The aim of the challenge, which ran throughout July, was to buy an item in a British Heart Foundation shop and add your own flair to it. I picked this lovely floaty floral dress and set about customising it...

It was a little windy when we took this photo!

I had my heart set on a dress and there were lots to choose from in store

Thank you to the very kind staff in my local British Heart Foundation shop who took this photo of me holding the dress I'd found in their store to use for the challenge

The dress was a little big and low at the front so I decided to add a sort of lace bib to make it wearable for me. I raided my stash for this pretty lace, which I overlaid and stitched together to create a fabric panel. I then stitched this into the front of the dress and used black pearl style beads to embellish the neckline

For some people, the idea of buying second hand clothes is not their cup of tea, but you can find great bargains and add your own flair to them, as well as supporting good causes and reducing landfill waste.  A few simple added details have made this a wearable dress for me and a very thrifty project.

Thanks to the British Heart Foundation for setting this great challenge, I hope it has raised lots of funds and publicity for your cause.

Did you take part in the Big Stitch? I'd love it if you shared a photo of your makes in the comments below!

Have a lovely week everyone!

Louise xx

Sunday, 23 July 2017

New in my Etsy Shop!

If you follow me on social media, this week you will have seen a sneak peek of some new pieces I've been working on lately. I'm delighted to reveal them now- I've just added them to my Etsy Shop!

Meet my new Fair Isle necklaces with pom poms! 

I'd been wanting to add to my Fair Isle jewellery range and create some really bright, fun pieces. Adding a pom pom in a contrasting colour to the bottom of each necklace has added a happy quirkiness to the range.

I certainly had fun making them and I hope people have fun wearing them too. The world needs more pom poms!

There are currently three colour ways to choose from, all hand knitted to my own patterns using Shetland Wool. Which one is your favourite?

I will be adding more colours and I am always happy to make custom orders if you would like one in a particular colour combo, just let me know! 

Thank you for letting me share these with you today. I hope you have a lovely week.

Louise xx