Monday 29 September 2014

Weekend Walking

Sunday was a beautiful summer like day in our little corner of Essex, so Mr Writer and I made the most of it with a drink at one of our favourite cafes and a stroll along The Prom. Here are a few photos I took along the way! Hope you all had a lovely Sunday too

Wednesday 24 September 2014

How To... Fabric Scrap Photo Frame DIY

Do you have an old photo frame that you'd like to brighten up? Give my latest How To a try and you can display it with pride!

1) You will need

Old wooden photo frame, Mod Podge, paintbrush, fabric scissors, fabric scraps

My cotton fabric scraps were taken from fabric shade cards, but you could use scraps from your stash or even up-cycle pretty fabric from old clothes. I've gone for a bright and eclectic mix of fabrics as that's my thing, but you can be as matching or clashing as you wish!

2) Cut your fabric into strips

I cut mine into pieces roughly 5cm long by 2cm wide and  a few at odd sizes for variation

3) Get sticking!

Working on small sections of the frame at a time, apply a thin layer of Mod Podge to the frame and lay your fabric strips on top. Overlap the fabric pieces to create a collage effect, ensuring that the pieces are fully stuck down. Cover the outside edges of the frame too and allow to dry fully

4) Add a top coat of Mod Podge

Apply a thin layer of Mod Podge over the top of the collage of fabric to seal. Allow to dry fully

 5) Display your lovely updated photo frame!

 A special photo presented in a hand decorated frame would also make a lovely gift idea. Happy making!

Sunday 21 September 2014

Photo Shoot part 1!

Here are a few of my favourite images from today's photo shoot at Hammonds Photography Studio! Thank you to Emma for the great shoot! 

I wanted to have some promo images for recent work including my Aztec inspired brooches and hand knitted Fair Isle brooches and I'm really pleased with these!

Over the coming weeks I'll be busy further developing the Shetland wool Fair Isle work (see brooches below) into a mini collection for the Etsy shop and getting ready for photo shoot part 2! I'll be sure to keep you posted. Hope you've had a great Sunday!

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Autumn Hot Chocolate Recipe!

Now the evenings are becoming more autumnal, I thought I'd share my Hot Chocolate recipe with you. It's perfect for a cosy Wednesday evening in with The Great British Bake Off... Enjoy!

Serves 1 but easily multiplied


4 squares milk chocolate
275ml milk
Marshmallows, to serve


1) Add the milk to a small saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring constantly to avoid catching

2) As soon as the milk has come to the boil, remove from the heat and add the milk chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has completely melted into the milk

3) Pour into a mug or heatproof glass and top with grated chocolate and marshmallows

I'm interested to try this with a flavoured chocolate, such as chilli chocolate or orange flavoured chocolate. You could also add a splash of cream into the milk before heating

The marshmallows I enjoyed with my hot chocolate are handmade Chocolate Mousse Marshmallows from The Marshmallow Lady. I hadn't tried handmade marshmallows before and they were lovely- really light in texture compared to shop bought marshmallows and with a great flavour. 

What is your favourite hot drink at this time of year? I'd love to hear your recipes and recommendations! 

Sunday 14 September 2014

Hand Knitted Shetland Wool Brooches

On Wednesday I shared some new materials and today I've been knitting with the beautiful Shetland wool, making these Fair Isle brooches! If you've been reading along lately you'll have seen my many and varied experiments in learning Fair Isle knitting, not all of them successful, so I'm really pleased to be able to share some finished pieces with you. Here are a few Instagram snaps from today...

I love to use Bamboo needles but I don't have any that are fine enough to use with 4ply. My tension is very loose so I've had to go down to 2.25mm metal needles to achieve the correct tension- it's a little like knitting with cocktail sticks (!) but I'm finding the finer yarn looks a lot less bulky for this project than the DK wool I had been using

These are the pieces I've finished today, but I've knitted pieces in other colour combinations and I'll be making them into brooches later this week. I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday 10 September 2014

Harris Tweed and Shetland Wool

Here is a sneak preview of some new materials I will be working with to create some new jewellery pieces- Some beautiful colours in off-cuts of Harris Tweed and some gorgeous Jamieson and Smith 100% Shetland Wool from the Shetland Isles. It's technically a 2ply yarn but used as a 4ply and the colour range is extensive. I mentioned in my previous post that the yarn I have been using for Fair Isle knitting (although lovely) doesn't come in a wide enough colour palette and is also a little thick for achieving quite the effect I wanted, so I'm excited to start working with these and I'll be sure to post the photos of what I come up with!

Sunday 7 September 2014

Crafty Reading Inspiration

I love craft books and I don't think you can ever have enough. They are lovely to have and although they are not always the type of book that you read from cover to cover, they are great to dip in and out of for inspiration. 

The neatest section of my craft bookcase!

Here are the latest additions to my crafty reading inspiration...

If you've been reading along lately you'll know that I'm really getting into embroidery, so when I spotted The Stitch Bible by Kate Haxell I treated myself to a copy. There are some great traditional embroidery books out there, but I find this book refreshing as it gives a quirky modern twist to the traditional techniques.

The book is arranged into sections focusing on stitch techniques, such as Freestyle, Crewelwork and Drawn Thread and there are some great projects to use these stitches at the end of each section, like the boldly stitched Smartphone case above, which is embroidered using Hardanger stitches. I'm looking forward to getting stuck in and trying out some new stitches! (I'll post the pictures!)

I've also just bought this book, Woolly Embroidery, which is a translation of very cute Japanese embroidery patterns, focusing mainly on Crewelwork, Stupmp Work and Canvas Work. Being a real magnet for all things wool, wool embroidery really appeals to me. I'm looking to combine Harris Tweed with wool embroidery for some new jewellery pieces, so I'm excited to jump into this book and get inspired. 

The first section of the book is dedicated to very sweet woolly embroidery designs for items such as cushions and bags, followed by a "How To Stitch" section and the tutorials for the featured designs. I love the "can do" focus of the book- the whole ethos is centered around "If you can sew a button, you can embroider" and it encourages you that whatever you stitch will be lovely because it's hand worked, even if it's not perfectly stitched. It really fills you with the confidence to experiment with freestyle designs too. 

So I'm off to start embroidering! What great crafty books have you discovered lately? Share them in the comments below!

Saturday 6 September 2014

Getting there...

The Fair Isle jewellery collection is gradually beginning to take shape. I've been busily hand knitting Fair Isle pieces and felting them in the washing machine, cutting them into the brooch shapes and embellishing with a little scattering of sparkly Swarovski Crystals that highlight the colours of the beautiful British wool. I'm planning to make some non felted Fair Isle brooches too, I'll share those as soon as they're done.

However, although I love the Wendy Ramsdale DK yarn I've been using, it's beautiful to knit with and it felts beautifully (as well as being 100% British made) I'm feeling like the colour palette may be a little limited. I've been looking at some ranges in Shetland wool that come in a huge range of colours, so I'm going to order some of those to try.

This is one of the larger pieces I knitted and then felted

I'd recommend The Very Easy Guide To Fair Isle Knitting if you'd like to learn too. It's the best book for beginners that I've seen as it takes you through the stages of learning to Fair Isle in manageable lessons, from the very basics of regular knitting, to holding and stranding the yarns in Fair Isle patterns and then on to lots of stitch patterns and projects to apply them to. I didn't find it very easy at first, but I think it's a case of perseverance!

Do you have any Fair Isle tips you'd like to share?