Topper - Teapot

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Adventures in the garden: veg tops

Vegetables are such beautiful creatures. Their different shapes, colours, and textures. I love growing them and seeing how they develop and form. Watching them go from seed to vegetable produces a mixture of feelings in me: excitement, admiration, and peace. I don't know what it is about gardening and being out in the garden but it's almost like a form of meditation for me. I feel so calm and unbelievably happy that I can't help but notice the change in myself. My shoulders relax, any tension in my body lifts and my mind is at one with itself.

This year has been the first time I've combined this feeling and love of all things green, with my other love - my camera, Beryl. On sunny days I've found myself grabbing Beryl and racing out into the garden to snap pics of those veggies. You would think the world was going to end the speed at which I was running into the garden.

In September I was admiring how the veggies in my little plots looked from a bird's eye view and so, I tried to capture what the resident Black Bird might see when perched on the fence. Granted the Black Bird would have to be digging for worms to view the fennel at that angle! ;-)

I particularly love the beetroots and carrots and boy oh boy it's harder than it looks pulling carrots up! There was me bumbling along, thinking I'll just pull a few carrots up for tea but ha! They are tough little ladies. Their roots hold strong and the only method is to get the fork out and carefully dig them up. This discovery made me admire them that little bit more.

This may be the last gardening post for a little while but we'll see. I may be able to slip one more in before Xmas - the late batch of sprouting broccoli is certainly ready for its photo shoot!

Monday, 20 October 2014

New in the shop: Classic Handkerchief with a twist!

Hey folks! There's a brand spanking new handkerchief design in the shop! Woo!

Meet the Classic Handmade Handkerchief, ta da!

I've taken my classic white handkerchief design and given it a much needed splash of colour! 

I had loads of fun trying out different coloured rolled hems and decided to go for these three: red, green and blue. I feel these particular shades are great classic colours but they also stand out well against the bright, white cotton.

Available in both my Etsy and NOTHS shops, you simply choose which colour and personalised option you would like. I currently offer a choice of 1 -3 letters or a memorable date. 

Each handkerchief comes in a gorgeous gift box (completely free of charge!) and makes a lovely, handmade, personalised present!

As ever, I'm always open to custom requests, so if you would like a completely different colour or a twist on the personalisation, please do drop me a line!

I hope you like them and if you missed it last week, another new design hit the shops. Check it out here!

Friday, 17 October 2014

What's on the dukebox, Jo?

I've had this song by Joan as Policewoman on repeat this week, love it and the video ain't half bad either.

What's on your dukebox at the moment? Any good recommendations?

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

New shop product!

If you follow me on Twitter you might have seen that I was getting rather excited over a new product idea on Monday. In fact, I got so over excited that I just got straight on and made it, tested it, photographed it and well uploaded it into my NOTHS and Etsy shops on Tuesday! I absolutely LOVE that exhilaration you get when a design idea comes to mind and you can't help but throw yourself into it!

Anyway, I should really introduce this new guy shouldn't I? Ok, so in the words of a best friend, drum roll, fig roll, sausage roll....

Introducing the Autumnal Accessory Gift Set, ta da!

This entirely handmade gift set comes in a choice of three fabric patterns and includes: one pocket sized handkerchief, a matching button ring and pendant. The pendant comes with a choice of silver or gold plated and oval or round frames. 

This is also a double-whammy of new designs, as this gift set comes in my new gift wrap boxes, with my Adventures & Tea Parties logo stamped on the top of the box (pic at bottom of this post).

Soooo, what do you reckon? Are these a goer? I'd love to hear your thoughts folks!

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Working for myself: handkerchiefs

When I receive a lovely personalised handkerchief order, it's not sent to some centralised office where a handkerchief is pulled out of storage, having been pre-made in a far east factory. I make each handkerchief from scratch and to order for every customer. It is just me. No factory, no team of makers.

But what does that process involve?
Well, it includes little ol' me and myself going in person to my local, trusted fabric shops and sourcing soft, 100% cotton. The cotton is then washed, carefully aired and ironed. I then test the fabric. That involves making an entire handkerchief from scratch and trialing hand embroidery on to the fabric. 
The trial embroidery will include testing a range of different colours to get the perfect match and ensuring the embroidery stands out through carefully selecting the right embroidery stitch and the right font. Once I'm happy with this, I will then make a whole new handkerchief again and photograph it and upload the picture on to my Etsy and Notonthehighstreet shops.
But what happens when a personalised order is received?
I firstly check that I can do the personalised order. Sometimes customers ask for a completely different personalisation, so I have to make sure I can deliver on that. With the chosen fabric I iron it again, then cut out the handkerchief size required (leaving a hem allowance all the way around). Using my overlocker, I create a beautiful rolled hem around the handkerchief and then dampen the edges to ensure the water soluble pen mark (which I used to draw the handkerchief square with) is completely washed out. 
After the handkerchief has dried, it's back to the ironing board again for another press before slip stitching the tails formed from the overlocker neatly into the rolled hem. Next I hand embroider the personalised option chosen and further hand sew an 'Adventures & Tea Parties' label on to the back of the handkerchief at one of the hem edges.
It's back to the ironing board again for a final press and a final check. When I'm happy with it and it's nicely folded into a square or rectangle (this shape depends on the size of the handkerchief), I then start preparing the gift wrapping. I offer additional gift wrapping, which includes a 100% recycled sturdy cardboard box filled with 100% recycled shredded paper. I carefully place the handmade, personalised handkerchief in the gift box, pop the lid on and select a ribbon to compliment the colour of the handkerchief. This is then cut to size, wrapped around the box and tied into a bow. I always tidy the ends of the bow up by cutting them to ensure they're even.
Next I stamp an envelope, write the address on and check this twice by looking the address up on the Royal Mail website. I then print the receipt and pop this and the gift wrapped handkerchief in the parcel, with some pretty washi tape at the edge to ensure it's secure. It's then off down to my local post office to send it on its way by first class post and job done! 

See You Soon