Wednesday 29 April 2015

Take a look at my How To page!

Have you had a look at my How To page? Here you'll find all of the crafty How Tos I've shared on the blog so far, from Liberty Fabric Scrap Heart Shaped Shoe Clips, Tea Towel Napkins with a Pompom Trim, to Fabric Wrapped Bangles and even a spangly DIY Christmas Tree Jumper

Designed with thrift in mind, all of my How Tos are made using recycled and upcycled materials, so they are inexpensive projects to make, often using materials you will already have to hand or items you may have picked up in the charity shop- check out my Spray Painted Vintage Tea Tray!

If you make any of the How Tos please do share, I'd love to feature them on the blog. 

Happy Making!

Sunday 26 April 2015

New Look Blog!

I'm so happy to be able to share the new look blog with you today! It's been a work in progress for a while and I'm delighted with the more streamlined and fresh look. There are still a couple of tweaks to be worked on, eg. redesigning the Galleries page, but I hope you like the look so far!

 I must say big thanks to Mr Writer for all his help and IT know how behind the scenes. We're off to celebrate with tea and cake!

Wednesday 22 April 2015

Warner Textile Archive Textile Fair, Sunday 17th May

I'm busy making new jewellery at the moment for The Warner Textile Archive Textile Fair in Braintree, Essex, on Sunday 17th May. 

There's a great line up of craft stallholders, talks, demonstrations, tours of the archive and a pop up tearoom- it looks set to be a fab day! I'm really looking forward to taking part and debuting some new pieces- hope to see you there!

Find out more about the events and how to get there here

Sunday 19 April 2015

Beeleigh Abbey Gardens, Essex

I live in a small town in Essex surrounded by beautiful countryside. Not too far from where I live is Beeleigh Abbey and periodically throughout the year the beautiful gardens are open to the public. On Friday my mum and I walked there and I'd like to share some photos from our our visit with you!

The Abbey itself was founded in 1180

I kept saying to my mum as we walked round that I think the Abbey and the grounds have a real Midsummer Murders feel to them- the episodes are always filmed in lovely picturesque countryside locations, so I often wonder if they will visit Beeleigh to film one day!

I've always wanted a pond, I love water and it must be lovely to spend an afternoon sitting here

The grounds are vast but immaculate, so much work must go into maintaining them! 

It was a chilly but bright day

Spring Daffodils

The gardens are open periodically from April to August- it would be interesting to visit in the summer to see the change in the seasonal flowers and plants

There's something lovely and quaint about greenhouses. I had to capture the impressive stack of plant pots over by the shed too!

The gardens back onto the River Chelmer. A peaceful spot

Walking home through the countryside after a lovely morning. Find out more about visiting Beeleigh Abbey here

Happy Sunday everyone!

Wednesday 15 April 2015

How To... Thrifty Plant Name Labels!

On Sunday I posted this How To for Chalk Painted Terracotta Pots and today I wanted to share the How To to make these really thrifty plant name labels! They are really easy to make by recycling materials you easily have to hand. Here's the How To...

1) You will need

Pretty papers from old magazines, A flat piece of plastic food packaging- I used a lid, PVA glue or Modge Podge, paintbrush, lolly sticks- you can easily buy these in craft or food stores, but it's much more fun and thrifty if you treat yourself to some ice lollies!

2) Cut the plastic food packaging to the size and shape you'd like for your labels. I've free hand cut mine as I'm going for the rustic look, but you could draw a shape onto the plastic with permanent marker first if you wanted to. Hearts or cloud shapes would look pretty- I might make some of those next!

3)Tear the magazine pages into small pieces and collage together on the plastic pieces using the PVA or Modge Podge, overlapping at the edges. I've only covered one side of my labels as the other side won't be visible in my plant pots, but you could collage both sides if you wanted to. Leave to dry

4) Trim the edges

5) There are a couple of options to use for the lettering on your labels. The most thrifty way is to cut letters from the magazines places to then collage onto the labels

Or, if you have an alphabet stamp set, you could use these to stamp your plant names as I've done with mine, stamping the names onto brown paper and then gluing onto the label back

6) Stick the lolly sticks to the back of the labels using the PVA or a strong all purpose glue and leave to dry

That's all there is to it, it's a super simple How To! Display in your herb, plant or flower pots. 

These labels aren't weather proof- I keep my herbs on the windowsill in the kitchen and put them outside on sunny days. I think a coat of varnish or even laminating the labels could be the solution to making them weather proof, if your plants live outside in all weathers. 

I'd love to see your gardens, be they conventional or balcony or window box. Share your green space in the comments!

Sunday 12 April 2015

Chalk Painted Terracotta Plant Pots How To!

For my latest How To I've given terracotta pots an update for spring using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint! I've been wanting to try out chalk paint for a while and I thought this would make a great first project!

1) You will need

Terracotta pots, 100ml pot of Annie Sloan Chalk paint (the colour I used is Provence), an old paintbrush, twine or string, sandpaper

2) My terracotta pots have a rustic concrete finish, so to prepare them I brushed them down with a stiff brush. Other than that, the surface doesn't require any preparation. 

I chose to paint the pots with random strokes in different directions. I Didn't worry about covering all of the pot perfectly, I wanted to go for the rustic look!

3) Paint your pots in any design you would like- I wanted to leave some terracotta showing for the rustic look. I only added one coat of paint, but you could add more coats for a stronger colour. Once the paint was dry I also used the sandpaper to remove some paint

4) Cut lengths of twine to tie around the pots. I've also seen people completely cover pots with string and pain over the top, as well as adding decopatch, adding a stenciled design or painting the pots in more than one colour. 

5) Add your plants, flowers or herbs! My herbs are a bit out of control, but at least they now have pretty pots! The paint goes a long way so you will still have plenty left for other projects. It's also weather proof, so your painted pots can live happily outside

On Wednesday I'll be sharing the How To for the herb name labels!

Happy painting and planting!

Wednesday 8 April 2015

The Small Project Challenge- Crochet Face Pads!

One of my big crafty goals is to learn to crochet. My most recent crochet project was this blanket and I'm keen to keep learning but I don't always have the time to commit to a big project, so for the small project challenge in March I decided that a crochet project was in order! 

For some time now I've been wanting to make some washable face pads for my cleansing routine- it seems so wasteful to keep throwing cotton wool pads in the bin, so I decided to crochet washable pads that I could wash and reuse!

I used Rico Baby Cotton Soft DK and the flat circle tutorial from Attic 24 to learn how to crochet circles. I found it really fiddly at first, but after many attempts I finally cracked it! They are by no means perfect examples of crochet, I've still got so much to learn, but I'm pleased to have accomplished the circles and the bonus is that they are useful too!

I fell behind a bit on this challenge because Mr Writer and I went on a little holiday at the last minute, so at the moment I only have a handful of finished circles, but I figure this is the kind of project I can keep adding to when I have time. A lovely lady from my day job has just crocheted a blanket in the same yarn and has given me the yarn she had left, so next I'm going to try crocheting some hexagon face pads! Watch this space!

Do you have any small crochet projects to share? 

Saturday 4 April 2015

Louise Dawson Design at Bazaar at The Waiting Room, Easter Sunday 5th April

Happy Easter! Hope you are all having a lovely weekend. If you fancy getting out and about this Easter Sunday, 5th April, The Waiting Room in Colchester, Essex, are hosting their first monthly food and craft Bazaar. There will be a great line-up of food and produce stalls, artists and makers. I'll be there selling my textile jewellery- it's on from 11-4 and is a short walk from the train station. Come and say hi! Find out more and get directions here

I also wanted to share some Easter bakes! The obligatory, but oh so yummy, cornflake cakes (made with all gluten free ingredients so my sister can scoff them too!) 

My first Simnel cake, with homemade marzipan! Off to try a piece now...

Wishing you all a very happy Easter, what will you be getting up to?

Wednesday 1 April 2015

On Instagram in March

I can't quite believe that here we are in April!This year is flying by so fast! Here's a look at what I got up to in March through my Instagram photos...

Baking...Mr Writer had been asking me to make this Jaffa Cake from Jamie Oliver's Comfort Food book for ages, so when I had a week off from the day job at the beginning of the month I made it! I felt like I was in a Bake Off challenge because you had to grill layers of cake mixture! 

Getting out for local walks by the water

Lunch by the Loch

My Mum works with children and she asked me to knit a hat for this rubber duck to illustrate a story. I wanted to keep him as a mascot!

Sharing some of my jewellery work

Experiments with patching fabric and soluble film 

A sneak peek at some crochet I'm working on for my Small Project Challenge

Mr Writer and I got away for a short break in Sherwood Forest, Nottingham. This was the view from our wooden cabin in the forest, nothing but trees, birds and squirrels!

Walking in Clumber Park

Exploring Sherwood Forest

The friendly squirrelwe met in Clumber park, walking in Sherwood Forest and the grounds of Rufford Abbey   

Visiting The Bead Shop Nottingham, which was bead heaven! I'e been ordering Swarovski Crystals from them online for years now so it was lovely to get to visit the bricks and mortar shop!

I just had to snap a photo of this lovely doggy in the flower shop!

Sleepy Nelson cat in his favourite chair

Watching horse racing for the first time

A visit to the zoo! I especially like to see the Flamingos and Meerkats 

If you'dlike to follow me on Instagram you can find me here! I'd love to check out your pages too. What did you get up to in March?