Wednesday 29 July 2015

3 Craft Podcast Recommendations

When I'm crafting I can usually be found watching iplayer or a DVD, but more recently I have discovered craft podcasts. Here are three of my favourite craft and knitting podcast discoveries so far...

This is a brilliant podcast aimed at creative folk and small creative business owners covering a huge range of topics from social media, growing your business, managing your time, blogging and so much more. Through the podcasts Elise aims to motivate and inspire, discussing topics with guests who share their expertise in their particular subject. The episodes are extensive and I'm really enjoying listening- they really do motivate, inspire and make you think. I highly recommend having a listen if you are a small creative business owner 

A friend recommended the KnitBritish podcast and what a treat it is to listen to! Louise who hosts the podcast has a passion for British wool and tries to knit with as much British grown and produced wool as possible, blogging and creating podcasts to promote her beautiful discoveries. The first episode I listened to was this one in which Louise travels to Shetland to visit Jamieson's of Shetland, interviewing the Jamieson family who share an insight into their woolen mill and the processes involved in producing the yarn. The accents and dialect really take you on a journey to Shetland- I'd love to visit even more now! I'm so looking forward to listening to more episodes

Kate from A Playful Day writes a blog and produces podcasts based on a variety of creative subjects, featuring inspirational interviews with creatives discussing topics from exploring the terms maker vs crafter and Craftivism. I've found the episodes I've listened to so far really insightful and Kate's blog is a lovely read and full of beautiful images too!

If you have any recommendations for craft podcasts, share them in the comments below and I can add them to the list!

Sunday 26 July 2015

Riverside Photo Walk

I'm trying to get outside and walk more so I've been using the opportunity to take more photos! I live in a small town in Essex just a short walk away from the River Blackwater and my favourite place to walk is along the river. Today I wanted to share some photos from my latest riverside walk- It was a bit of grey and rainy early morning but it was still pretty and peaceful down by the river. 

I love going down to the river early in the morning- all you can hear is birds and tinkling boat sounds!

There are great views from the end of the prom

The famous mud. Every year there is a charity mud race here and brave people dressed in all sorts of costumes attempt to cross the mud!

The statue is of Byrhtnoth who led the Anglo Saxons against the Vikings in the Battle of Maldon

This is one of my favourite views of the town

I love living here and I feel really lucky to be able to enjoy these lovely surroundings

Had to get a photo of these nautical details!

What's your favourite thing about where you live?

Wednesday 22 July 2015

How To... Customised Canvas Bag

If you're anything like me and try to avoid using plastic bags as much as possible you will have an ever growing array of fabric bags to use as project bags, shopping bags, beach bags etc. You may also, like me, have a plain canvas bag that has been languishing in the cupboard not being used because it's just too plain or you may have even made a plain fabric bag such as the Fabric Remnant Tote Bag I made in this How To and it needs some decoration. So, in my latest how to I hope to inspire you to give a new lease of life to your plain fabric bags! This is a thrifty make- as well as saving that bag it's also a great way to use beads and printing inks/fabric paints you may have left over from other projects and a quirky way to upcycle an old belt. Here's the How To...

1) You will need

A plain fabric bag, fabric paint/printing ink, sponge, beads- I used cone shaped stud beads, an old belt, leather punch/poking tool/strong sharp needle for making holes in the belt, needle and thread

2) Draw the shape you would like to print onto a sponge or piece of foam and cut out with scissors or a stanley knife. Practice printing your shape onto some scrap fabric before printing onto your bag to check you are happy with the shape

 3) I always use an ice cream tub lid as my palette! Place some card or newspaper inside your bag to prevent any paint seeping through. Choose your first colour  to stamp with. I've chosen to stamp triangles in two colours across the bottom of the bag but the choice is yours, print whatever shape you wish in a design of your choice

4) Allow the first stamped designs to dry completely

 5) Once dry, stamp the second coloured triangles onto your bag, filling in the gaps between the first triangles

6) Allow to dry completely and then fix the paint according to the instructions on the pot

7) Use a quick unpick to remove the handles from your bag

8) Cut the buckle off of the old belt and cut the ends straight. Cut two pieces from the belt to use as bag straps, using the old straps as a length guide

9) Using the poking tool/leather punch/strong sharp needle, punch holes for stitches at each end of the belt pieces

10) Stitch the straps onto the bag

11) Stitch your beads onto the bag in any design that takes your fancy. I stitched two rows of beads between the handles on the front of my bag

Now all that's left to do is to get out and about with your fab customised bag!

If you have a go at customising a bag, share your photos in the comments below!

Wednesday 15 July 2015

Louise Dawson Design Folksy Shop

Things are busy behind the scenes here at Louise Dawson Design- I'm working on a new collection for the Winter and making for several craft fairs that are coming up, but I wanted to let you know that I am re-stocking my Folksy Shop! The first pieces I've added are my Shetland Wool Fair Isle knitted necklaces.

I'm also offering 10% off orders in my Folksy Shop using the discount code "folksycelebration."
Take a peek at my Folksy Shop here

Sunday 12 July 2015

New Products: Denim Button Brooches

I've just added a little selection of Denim Button Brooches to my Etsy Shop! Each one is handmade from upcycled denim and colourfully embellished with recycled fabric pieces. I've been enjoying wearing mine with my favourite denim dress (double denim, haha!). Take a look at them in my Etsy Shop and check out my other upcycled fabric brooches here

Wednesday 8 July 2015

The Made In Colchester Summer Fair

On Saturday 4th July I took part in the Made In Colchester Summer Fair at Colchester Arts Centre. It was such a lovely day with a great atmosphere and very busy so I didn't get a chance to take a lot of photos, but I wanted to share a little look back at the day and introduce some of the Collective members and their handmade work, all created in the Colchester area...

Brilliant prints from Lauren Kelly. The hard thing about the day was being tempted by all the lovely work on display!

Ar and illustration from Ella Johnston

Prints, cards, cushions and bags from Daisy Courtauld

A beautiful display from Tracy Owen

Stationery and illustrated gifts by Holly Trill

My display. I'm still enjoying using the vintage suitcases to display my brooches and they seemed to draw attention!

We ran drop in workshops throughout the day and they were all very popular. I taught 6 lovely ladies how to make felt beads- they all said how much they enjoyed it so I got a bit of a buzz from that. It's definitely given me a push to carry on planning a workshop programme- watch this space!

There was live acoustic music playing throughout the day which added to the great atmosphere. The Arts Centre where the Summer Fair was held is a former church that is now used as a music and event venue, so the acoustics are brilliant.

As if that wasn't enough, there was also a pop up cafe run by collective member Caroline Rhys-Lewis, serving lovely homemade cake and savoury goodies. I treated myself to a piece of caramelised apple and ginger cake- it had to be done!

 The Collective members enjoyed the day as much as the visitors and if you came along to support us, thank you very much. I'd also like to say thank you to the founder of The Made In Colchester Collective Lucy Hook-Child and to all the members of the group who put so much effort into making it such a fab day. We're now planning the Autumn Fair for Saturday 19th September!

If you'd like to find out more about the Made In Colchester Collective and keep up to date with news and events, check out our website here

Sunday 5 July 2015

On Instagram in June

June has been beautifully sunny, summery and hot for the most part here in the uk. We're already well into the first week of July so I wanted to share some of my Instagram photos from June before another month flies by! So here's what I got up to in June...

I've been trying to spend as much time as I can working outdoors, walking and making the most of the summer. The countryside is looking so floral and pretty

Evening sunshine through the Wisteria. I love being able to sit outside to eat dinner on summer evenings

Our Apricot tree is laden with fruit this year but they have a tendency to go from rock like to very ripe very quickly, so I've got my eye on them! Recipe books at the ready!

I took this pic during breakfast in the garden. I really would stay out there all day if I could!

I have a fizzy water obsession and lately I've been enjoying it with fresh fruit in my Kilner Jar mug

I've been catching up with friends this month and have enjoyed a couple of evenings outside my favourite pub, which has the best river views

Nelson is loving the summery weather and has been spending lots of time outside chilling in the shade or napping indoors on the sofa. It's a cats life!

Alongside the Made In Colchester Collective I've been taking part in the Bazaar monthy food and craft market at The Waitng Room in Colchester

I'm still working on new Fair Isle jewellery pieces and I've started making some small square designs

I went along to a Fair Isle and Intarsia workshop at the brilliant Make Do and Mend in Chelmsford, Essex. The super cute tea cosy was a gift to Make Do and Mend from a lady who learnt to knit there- it's so cute! Read more about the workshop and Make Do and Mend in this post

Getting in some photography practice

Enjoying the homemade food at Bazaar at The Waiting Room. I couldn't resist a slice of this lime, elderflower and strawberry custard tart and it tasted amazing!

Baking these strawberry and white chocolate cupcakes to make the most of English strawberry season! I shared the recipe here

My day job is close to the Tiptree Jam Factory and I was gifted a jar of this lovely Passion Fruit Curd, so I baked a passion fruit and cream cake!

If you'd like to follow me on Instagram you can find me here. I'd love to follow your page too!

What did you get up to in June?