Sunday 29 March 2015

Check Out My Etsy Shop Celebrating British Materials. Take 20% off too!

Have you seen my Etsy shop? It's stocked with textile jewellery made with British and recycled materials, all handmade by me in Essex, England. From Harris Tweed Button Brooches and rings embellished with pretty recycled fabric "blooms" to Fair Isle brooches and necklaces hand knitted in Shetland wool. I'm working hard to create a shop that is a celebration of British and recycled materials, using traditional techniques re-invented with a modern twist. 

I'm offering 20% off in my Etsy shop until Sunday 5th April- just use the code BRITISHMADE20 at the checkout and treat yourself or a loved one to a handmade gift this Easter! Have a browse here

My Harris Tweed Button Brooches and rings are all made from offcuts of Harris Tweed, embellished with pieces of pretty recycled fabrics

I hand knit pieces for my Fair Isle jewellery collection using beautiful Shetland Wool, which is traditionally used for Fair Isle knitting

Wednesday 25 March 2015

How To... Make Pretty Napkins Using Tea Towels and Pompom Trim!

Try my latest thrifty How To and turn a set of tea towels into colourful napkins! These would be fab for a special dinner/garden party and you could even use them as place mats too! Here's how to make 

1) You will need

Cotton tea towels (one tea towel makes two napkins), pompom trim, fabric scissors, pins, sewing machine, thread to match the pompom trim, hand sewing needle

A note on tea towels- If you have any vintage tea towels that are in good condition they would make lovely napkins, but if not, buy a pretty set to match your dining colour theme

2)  Wash and iron the tea towels. I'm terrible at ironing so mine look a bit crumpled... oops. Cut each tea towel in half across the width. Fold over the raw edges by 1cm, then press, pin and tack into place

3) Straight stitch each raw edge on the sewing machine,stitching close to the raw edge. 

4) Cut two pieces of pompom trim to the length of the napkin. You need two pieces per napkin. Place the trim on the edge of the napkin so the pompoms hang over the edge, then pin and tack into place

5) Again using a running stitch, machine stitch along the pompom trim, close to the edge without the pompoms

Happy making!

Sunday 22 March 2015

A Little Holiday In Sherwood Forest, Nottingham!

Last week Mr Writer and I got the chance to go on a short break to Sherwood Forest in Nottingham at the last minute so we headed off to explore the countryside for a few days! Here are some pics of what we got up to in Robin Hood country...

Walking in Sherwood Forest, which was five minutes round the corner from where we stayed. Very peaceful at this time of year, just us, some dog walkers and horse riders

We came across all sorts of interesting tree formations! 

Visiting the ruins of Rufford Abbey and walking in the beautiful grounds

The huge lake in the grounds of Rufford Abbey

This was the view from our wooden cabin in the forest. It was great for spotting birds and squirrels

Visiting Clumber Park and exploring the vast grounds, cared for by The National Trust. There were brilliant views across the lake

We walked all the way around the huge lake in Clumber Park which took a couple of hours and spotted this little guy- the only squirrel who sat still just long enough for me to photograph!

So we're home now and feeling refreshed. There are so many places to visit in this country, we're going to try to get away more often to explore more of England and enjoy the benefits of having a break! Do you have any recommendations of places to visit?

Wednesday 18 March 2015

Learning To Use My Camera- DSLR Photography Resources

I'm still practicing and learning how to use my Nikon D3200 camera, so I thought I'd share some helpful online DSLR photography resources I've discovered! 

A Beautiful Mess DSLR Basics

A great online course from A Beautiful Mess that takes you through the basics of using your DSLR camera. The course also helps you to develop your personal photography style and how to take photos in a variety of situations, such as product photography and portrait photography. 


Craftsy offer a huge amount of online craft courses including many photography classes- I'd like to take the product photography course!

You Tube

Nikon D3200 Users Guide

This You Tube video is a really comprehensive guide to the Nikon D3200, right from initial set up to exploring all the features and functions of the camera

You Tube is a great learning resource if, like me, you are a visual learner. I learn quicker by watching and doing rather than reading a manual. You can also search for videos relating to your particular camera and it's free (bonus)!


Pinterest is such a brilliant (and addictive!) resource for gathering tips and inspiration on all sorts of subjects. I love it because you gather your pins by subject and they are usefully stored for accessing as and when you want to 

I'm gathering photography tips on this Pinterest board DSLR Photography Tips

I'd like this to become an ongoing resource for photography that I'll add to as I continue researching, learning and taking photos! Let me know if you have suggestions to add!

Sunday 15 March 2015

Crafty Discoveries!

I've made a few crafty discoveries lately so I'd like to share!

Stick It! PVA Glue Pen

Ok, I admit it's March and I'm already making Christmas cards, but I'm so determined to be organised this year so I'm starting very early! It was while gathering materials for card making that I discovered the Stick It PVA Glue Pen. It's fab! They come with different nib widths and you just squeeze the glue out with the same precision as using a pen! Great for sticking glitter, gems and ribbons- it's become a very useful tool in my craft kit. Find them in craft stores

Learn To Sew With Lauren

A lovely friend bought me this beautiful book by Sewing Bee finalist Lauren Guthrie. It's full of fab projects- I particularly like this simple sleeveless top so I've added that to my Small Project Challenge List!

Magnetic Needle Holder

I love my Magnetic Needle Holder- no more lost needles! So simple but so clever

I'm keen to develop my Fair Isle Jewellery Collection this year and I've recently bought some Knitting Design Graph paper! I'd forgotten how much I enjoy colouring in!

 I'm a loose knitter so I end up having to use really small needles when I'm knitting with 4ply yarn, but they end up getting bent, as you can see!

Have  you made any crafty discoveries lately?

Wednesday 11 March 2015

Liberty Fabric Handmade Mother's Day Card How To

There's something so lovely about receiving a handmade greetings card. So much thought and time goes into it, receiving one is a gift in itself! Here's my Liberty Fabric, handmade Mother's Day card How To...

1) You will need

A blank greetings card,small fabric scraps (I used Liberty fabric), fabric scissors, PVA glue, small paintbrush or glue spreader, short length of ribbon or rik rak, thread to match the ribbon, green embroidery thread, sewing needle


Alphabet rubber stamps to spell "MUM", ink pad, hang tag label

2) Cut 5 (depending on the size of your blank card you may need to cut more or fewer tulip shapes) tulip shapes from your fabric scraps. You could draw a template to cut around or cut them freehand

3) Decide on an arrangement for the tulips before you stick them onto the card

4) Stick the tulips onto the card with a thin layer of PVA

5) Knot the end of the thread and add giant stitches underneath the tulips to represent the stems. Cross the stitches over each other to create the effect of a bunch of flowers

6) Tie a small bow in the ribbon or rik rak and stitch onto the card where the stems cross

7) You could leave the card as it is or if you have some alphabet stamps, stamp "MUM" onto the label and stick the label onto the card, or you could write a message

 Happy making and happy Mother's Day!