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30 May 2014

What's on the jukebox, Jo?

I played this song 4 times today - on repeat. I've loved it for a long time and I still love it. Always makes me feel happy (despite the black lyrics) and makes me want to crack on with life and my biz.Enough said I reckon. Go have a listen.

28 May 2014

Review: Oolong Tea by The Kettle Shed

Last week I was reviewing Jasmine Tea. This week it's all about Oohlong Tea! Isn't that just the best name for a type of tea?! 

Provided by the lovely Zoe of The Kettle Shed for me to share my thoughts with you all, Oohlong arrived in this gorgeous tin, bursting with the sweet smell of pure oohlong. On the front of the tin are instructions on how much to use per cup, how hot your water should be and how long you should let it infuse for. I love this bit of detail. Not only does it help get the right flavour but it shows how much the tea is valued and respected! It's not just something to fling in a cup, it should be brewed properly!

Now, I have to confess, I've tried Oolong before and I haven't been a huge fan but I got the kettle on, my best china out and started brewing the tea in my little teapot, with an infuser. 

The tea came out a slightly darker colour compared to the Jasmine of last week. The taste was a sweet, oaky mixture. It ever so slightly reminded me of that woody taste you get from green tea but sweeter than that. I could taste that it was a good tea and that if you like Oohlong, you're going to love it! For me though, I preferred the Jasmine tea but I'm definitely going to try it some more as because it's particularly popular with tea connoisseurs!

If you're an Oohlong fan, you can pick up a tin over at The Kettle Shed and if you like tea, stay tuned for two more tea reviews coming up! Until then, happy brewing!


Disclosure: I reviewed this independently and wasn't sponsored to write this post.

27 May 2014

Guest post tutorial: 4-hole Japanese bookbinding or Yotsume Toji

Hello and welcome to another guest post tutorial! 

This fantastic bookbinding tutorial is great for a weekend project or for a craft party! It has been put together by the very talented hands of Vicki, who has just moved over from the UK to Melbourne, Australia, taking her awesome Etsy shop, By Me For You, with her too! Vicki also has a facebook page, with updates on which markets she'll be at with her quirky accessories and also news about the latest designs she's working on. I'm loving those magnetic bookmarks! 

So, lets hand the reigns over to Vicki to find out how to make a 4-hole Japanese book!

Materials needed:
– Long ruler
– Sharp pencil
– Scissors
– PVA glue
– An old plastic lid (for the glue)
– A large paste brush
– Needle and thread
– Sellotape
– A bookbinding awl or pricker
 (you can just use a strong darning needle)
– Bull clips x 4
– Old paper for covering surfaces when gluing.
For the book you will need:
– Two sheets of thin card, at least A4 size. I used some square craft card (max 220gsm).
– Thin paper for the actual note book. Enough to make a stack of around 40 sheets.  I used A4 size cut into A5. The paper I used is a Japanese calligraphy paper but you can use any paper you like, as long is it is very light weight, such as layout paper (max 120gsm).
– Some posh paper enough to cover 2 x A4
(I used an off cut of some wrapping paper I had
from Paperchase).

Step 1:
– Take your stack of paper and make sure all the sheets are neatly piled and placed on top of the thin card in one of the corners.
– Take your ruler and place it on top of the paper up against the paper edge. Draw a line on the card, along the two edges.
– Do this again on a different corner of the card (fig 1).
– Cut them out. You now have the front and back of your notebook (fig 2).

                                                                          Fig 1                                                Fig 2

Step 2:
To make life easier I suggest that if your ruler is wide like mine just use the size of the ruler as the size of your border, otherwise it's roughly 5 cm.
– Put some PVA in the old plastic lid (fig 3). Put a light coating of PVA on to the back of the card (fig 4) and stick the card down in the centre of the wrapping paper.
– Using your ruler put the top edge up against the card (fig 5) and draw a line along the bottom of the ruler, repeat this on every side of the card. Then cut down the paper to size.
Fig 3, 4 and 5
– For the corners measure out from the corner off at a 45º angle 2 cm (fig 6).  Then draw a line diagonally across the corner (fig 7).
– Repeat for each corner and cut off the edges.

Fig 6 and 7
Step 3:
– Fold in all the edges starting with the two long edges first and then the short edges. This will enable you to check how the paper will fold and if you need to cut the edges a little more (fig 8).
– Glue the edges again, long edges first (fig 9) and then the short edges (fig 10).
Note: always glue outwards from the edge of the card to the edge of the paper and only use a very thin layer of glue.
– The back cover of the book is now done so put to one side (fig 11).

Fig 8, 9, 10 and 11.
Step 4:
The front cover has a ‘hinge’ opening so requires a bit more work.

– Take the front cover card, from the right short edge mark a 2 cm point and 2.5 cm point (fig 12).
– Draw a line for both these points down the page, making a thin gutter (fig 13).
– Cut along the gutter but DO NOT discard this piece. You will now be left with 3 pieces of card (fig 14).

Fig 12, 13 and 14
– To hold all the pieces together use a small amount of tape (fig 15).
– Glue the back of the card trying not to glue the thin gutter (fig 16). Once glued you can then discard the gutter piece (fig 17).
– Then continue with the rest of Step 2.

Fig 15, 16 and 17
Step 5:
- To make sure the hinge folds well, first fold the smaller piece of card inwards, making a very light crease (fig 18).
– Then fold inwards along the larger piece, making a light crease (fig 19).
– When you turn it over you can see a light indent where the gutter will be (fig 20).
– Now repeat Step 3.

Fig 18, 19 and 20

You now have all the components for the book.

If you wish you can cover the inside of the covers too, just take two pieces and measure out the size of the covers. Then measure 1 cm in from the size of the cover and cut down to size and glue on to the covers. Let the glue dry, which won't take long, so just have a cup of tea and it’ll be ready by the time your done.

Fig 21, 22 and 23

Step 6:
– Take a spare piece of paper the exact length of the short edge of the book. Mark a point 1 cm from the edge (fig 21) and draw a line down.
– Now measure in 1 cm along the line and mark an ‘X’ (fig 22), this will be your first hole. Do this for the other end too and this will be your last hole.
– Measure the length from the first and second marks and make two more marks in between, making sure all 4 marks are equally spaced. For the size of my book this works out at a 5 cm gap in between each mark (fig 23)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Step 7: We now need to secure the book while we sew.

- Make sure you have the back and front covers neatly sandwiching the stack of inside papers. Remember that your front cover needs to have the hinge on the right hand edge of the book and that this is the edge we will be sewing.
– Take the non hinged edge and a piece of spare paper and fold over the edge of the book (fig 24) (this will protect the nice paper from any damage by the clips), and clip this in place (fig 25).
– On the hinged edge take your piece of paper with the markings on from Step 6, make sure this is
on top of the front cover, and place a piece of paper at the back of the book and clip into place (fig 26).

Fig 24, 25 and 26

Step 8:
Fig 27
– Now take your awl, pricker or darning needle and at each of the four marked points pierce all the way through the book (fig 27).
I suggest you do this on a cutting mat or block of wood. If you struggle to pierce through the whole book you can use a mallet and gently tap the pricker through.
-You now have 4 holes through the book, which we will sew through.


Step 9:
– Move the paper down the book (fig 28) but keep attached to keep the book secure. You just want it out of the way, so that you don’t sew them to the book.
– Take your thread and measure out around 3 x the length of the short edge to give you enough
thread to sew with (fig 28).

                                                                                Fig 28

Step 10 The sewing:
This is actually really simple but looks complicated. I have drawn diagrams which should be easier to follow.

Fig 29 and Fig 30

– Fig 29 and 29A: Starting from the second hole
Fig 29A
in. Split the book roughly in the middle, take the 
needle and thread and go up through the inside, 
through the other side, pull through, leaving a 
small ‘tail’ of thread hanging out the book.

Fig 30A
– Fig 30: squeeze the book back together, go over the top of the book edge and back in through 
the bottom of the same hole (fig 30A). Take the 
thread all the way through.

Fig 31
– Fig 31: From nº 2 go across to nº3 through the 
top and out the bottom.

Fig 32
– Fig 32: Go over the edge through the top of nº 3 and out the other side. From nº 3 go along the bottom and up through nº 4.

Fig 33
– Fig 33: Go over the top edge, through the bottom of nº 4 and back out again. Then go over the side edge and back up through nº 4 again.

Fig 34

– Fig 34: From nº 4 go through the top of nº 3 and out the bottom, then go along to nº 2 and up 
through to the top.

Fig 35

– Fig 35: From nº 2 go through the top of nº 1 and out the bottom, then go over the top edge and back in through nº 1.

– Fig 36: Go over the side edge and back down
Fig 36

through nº 1 again. Then go across to nº 2 and 
back up.

Fig 37
– Fig 37: To tie off go under the thread at nº 2 and back through the book to the middle section 
where you began and come out the book (fig 38). Cut the thread again leaving a small ‘tail’

Fig 38

– Fig 38: Now simply tuck in the tail ends of thread into the book and it's all done. It should look like the image below. 

Wow, what a fantastic tutorial! Thanks so much, Vicki! I can't wait to give this a go. 

I hope you're all going to try this out. Why not send me your pictures of your finished books and I'll pop them up on the blog! 

Happy paper crafting everyone!

24 May 2014

New Fabric Necklaces Now Available!

Woohoo! My new fabric necklace designs are now available to purchase in my Not On The High Street shop! They will also be coming to my Etsy shop soon!

Each necklace is made with a silver plated pendant (approx dimensions: H3.7cm x W2.7cm), which hangs from a 28" silver plated, curb chain, so that it sits nicely over dresses, tops and shirts. The fabric pendant centre is 100% cotton and comes in a range of colours and patterns, making it the perfect summer accessory!

...and soon there will be matching earrings and rings to go with! But if you would like a matching set sooner, just drop me a line and I will happily make one up for you! :-)

So, here they all are folks! What do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts! Thanks loads!

Handmade polka dot pendants, available here.

Handmade animal print necklace, available here.

Handmade stripey necklaces, available here.

Handmade heart fabric necklace, available here.

Handmade blue chequered necklace, available here.

Handmade floral necklaces, available here.

22 May 2014

New design but which shot?

Hello everyone and happy Thursday!

Yesterday, I was working away at some new designs - fabric necklaces! Here's a sneaky peek of some of the patterns I'll be offering. If you're following me on Twitter and Instagram, then you will have seen more fabric prints :-)

Now, I just need to decide, do I pop these up in my online shops with a wooden or white background?! Hmm. What do you think? Your thoughts would be really helpful! 

Thanks folks!

20 May 2014

Review: Jasmine Tea by the Kettle Shed

Last year I did a review on a GORGEOUS selection of teas, supplied by The Kettle Shed. I was totally blown away by the beautiful flavours, the pretty tins they arrived in and of course, how wonderful the dried tea leaves looked. Well, the lovely Zoe of The Kettle Shed has only gone and sent me another selection of teas to review - poor me ;-) - and once again they have blown my mind!

So, like brewing tea, I've decided to not to rush through sharing each tea with you in one blog post. Instead, I'm going to share each one in its own right over the next 4 weeks and first up is Jasmine tea!

The tea arrived in a sweet refill pack, ready to pop straight into an accompanying tin. The tin is one of those decent, sturdy tins, which you could keep refilling forever....

....and boy would you want to refill it forever! The smell of the dried jasmine is absolutely INCREDIBLE!! It has a lovely, delicate, sweet aroma. It's almost got a perfume edge to it but not overpowering in the slightest. The ingredients actually contain green tea and jasmine petals, which totally surprised me as I'm not a huge green tea fan but oh, it works!

As instructed on the front of the tin, one teaspoon of jasmine tea per cup, with hot water, infused for 3 minutes produces a light, delicate colour. The taste is, well, can you describe a tea as beautiful? To me this tea is just that. The flavour has that perfect balance of a refreshing and slightly sweet taste. It certainly doesn't need sugar or milk; it's perfect on it's own and is simply delicious!
Have you ever tried Jasmine tea before? Do you have a favourite tea and do you drink loose-tea? I'd love to hear all your tea thoughts and stories!


Disclosure: I reviewed this independently and wasn't sponsored to write this post.

19 May 2014

Custom wedding cufflinks

Here's a quick peek at some custom order cufflinks I was working on last week. The custom brief being specific football team colours for all of the groomsmen for an up-coming wedding. I was rather excited by this request as it meant a couple of trips to my local fabric shop to hunt down the right shades of red and blue and also stripey red and white and yellow and black fabric. I wasn't sure yellow and black stripey fabric existed but hey, it does!

I'm thinking I might start offering these colour ranges in my shop, including some more stripey and pattern varieties. What do you think? Are there are any colours/patterns you would like to see?


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