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29 February 2016

Review: The New Craft House Knicker Making Kit

The lovely ladies at The New Craft House recently sent me one of their brand, new Knicker Making Kits to try out on my trusty sewing machine. I've never made knickers before and it's been a loooong time since I sewed with elastic.

The kit arrived in a gorgeous New Craft House tin, with everything I needed to get started, including a handy set of instructions and super pretty fabric!


I read through the instructions first, making sure I had a good overview before cutting the fabric. As the fabric had been neatly rolled up in the tin, I gave it a press with the iron first. I also carefully ironed the paper sewing pattern to get a few of the creases out. This is really easy to do. You can either iron it on a super low setting or pop a bit of fabric over the top of the paper and iron through the fabric.

The instructions were really easy to follow and I liked the fact it had an estimate of how long the project expects to take. This was a 2-3 hour project. I probably took that amount of time but I had to break off mid-way through to answer a lovely custom order request in my shop, so I lost track of the timing.

Sewing the elastic wasn't half as bad as I thought it would be as long as I placed the pins horizontally as pictured in the instructions. At first I tried placing the pins vertically down the fabric but the elastic wouldn't hold, which is why it's best to always follow the instructions!

Here are my finished knickers! I loved adding the extra detail of the bow on the top. My knickers are ever so slightly too big as I over estimated with my measurements. So, I'm going to use the next size down on the pattern and make another pair.

This is a great project for beginners or indeed anyone who likes a fun sewing project. It's a bit more interesting than sewing a cushion! Although you can never have too many cushions but you get my drift. 

What I also liked about the kit was the fact that you could easily pop the pattern back in the tin, rather than trying to fold it up and tussle with getting it back into a paper envelope. I always find that frustrating. It's like trying to get a tent back into its original bag; it always seems bigger than when it went in!

Overall, I loved this project for practising my sewing skills and making something a little different. I have now got my eye on their bra making workshop, to go with my knickers of course!

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

28 February 2016

New Blog Design

This month I've been working with the super talented Studio Rokit and Magic Feather Designs to give my blog a bit of a makeover and ta-da, here it is! I'm super chuffed with the stunning graphic design and new blog lay out!

Along with the new look, I've updated my About page and shared the story behind my shop and handmade designs. 

I'm also sharing ten quick-fire questions about me too because they're always fun to do!

What is your greatest fear? 
Public speaking and heights.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Eating Pringles covered in Primula cheese spread.

What trait do you most deplore in yourself?
Not knowing when to stop.

What trait do you most deplore in others?
Jealousy

What would your super power be?
To fly

What did you want to be when you were growing up? 
An actress 

What is the worst job you’ve done?
Chambermaid

When did you last cry, and why?
Watching Philomena on Friday night. I was in floods of tears all the way through at the way those poor girls were treated and at the lies told to Philomena.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
It’s ok to say no and walk away.

Where would you most like to be right now?
In the south-west with my friends and family.


If you'd like to read more about my crafty world, check out my recent interview with Mrs Crafty B.


26 February 2016

What's on the jukebox, Jo?

For those of you new to my blog, every Friday I do a little round-up of the week, just in case you missed any blog posts or special bits of news! I also include a few songs, which have been inspiring me to create, make, design, photograph and write! I find music one of the top few things that inspires me creatively. One song that's been encouraging my creative gene this week is Sometimes by James, which I confess, I've totally had on repeat this week. It gives me a happy rush to the head and causes me to sing along (completely out of tune), while sewing, photographing....So, pop it on while having a read of this post :-)

Are you singing along yet? Yes? Good, lets crack on! Highlights of this week have included:

Creating my first ever Mailchimp newsletter, which will be hitting inboxes on Sunday. It includes some exciting news! If you haven't already, you can sign up to the newsletter here.
Receiving my new business cards, designed by Studio Rokit and printed by Printed.com. I'm totally head over heels about the graphic design and super impressed with the quality of the cards. I'll definitely be using Printed.com again and well, Studio Rokit has me as a life time client!
On the topic of branding and logos, I've had the great pleasure of working with Jen from Magic Feather Designs who has been creating a brand new blog layout, using the beautiful new graphics from Studio Rokit. Here's a sneak peek! The new look will be live on Sunday, so stay tuned! 

24 February 2016

Going on an adventure: how to begin

plane map and arrows
If you fancy going on an adventure or being more adventurous in life, have a read of my tips on how to begin!

1) Open up your imagination! Yes, it may sound a little corny but it's the only way to get started. Have a think and jot down some ideas about where you would like to go. It could be a place in the world or it could be a way of being. For example, going into that gallery exhibition that you've just discovered, rather than waiting or simply saying yes to that coffee catch up with your friend. Whatever it is, starting imagining where you want to be.

2) Now you've got an idea of what or where it is you want to go, write it down and pin it up on the wall. You could even get a map and put a pin in it! The main point is to have it there in front of you, showing you that you've made a decision about where you're going! Exciting stuff!

3) You've listened to your imagination and you've told yourself it's happening. You now need to plan and begin! Get that travel guide out, start planning and book that flight or reply to your friend to say yes to that coffee or simply walk out the door and head to that gallery exhibition. Whatever it is, don't just plan it but do it too! 

I hope this gives you some encouragement to go on that adventure you've been dreaming of and start saying yes!

If you like my tips and tricks, sign up to my monthly newsletter for more! 

23 February 2016

Photographing tea cups and flowers

With the days starting to get lighter, I've been enjoying photographing later on in the afternoon. And on a particularly lovely afternoon, I decided to photograph two of my favourite things: vintage tea cups and flowers.
The pink tea cup I bought at Spitafields Market a long time ago in a different chapter of my life. The blue tea cup is part of a set I inherited from my Granny. They are both very dear to me.
The flowers are from one pink and one purple hyacinth, which is definitely a favourite flower of mine. They smell so refreshing and uplifting that they cannot fail to put a smile on your face and lighten up a room with their colour and scent!
I was impressed with how long the flowers lasted too, after I plucked them. A good 3 days at least! You could use this idea as a pretty table display for a tea party. It takes minimal effort and the effect is so pleasing to the senses!
If you would like to see more of my photography, head over to my Instagram page and sign up to my newsletter!
tea cup and hyacinths

tea cup and hyacinths

tea cup and hyacinths

tea cup and hyacinths

22 February 2016

Haberdashery Corner: Tape Measures

tape measure


Hands up. Who has lots of different tape measures for craft projects? I have a tonne, from vintage to modern to lots of lovely free ones from crafty magazines too!


Not only are they a useful tool to have in any kit but you can use them in fun craft projects too! Find out more on the Simple Stylish Makes blog and do come and share your makes on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #simplestylishmakers!

19 February 2016

What's on the jukebox, Jo?

So, this week has been such a busy one, I've hardly had time to blog!

Highlights of the week have included:

- Working with Jen at Magic Feather Designs to put a fresh lick of paint on my blog. New look will be revealed very soon!

- Breathing in the heavenly scent of pink and purple hyacinths. The smell and look of flowers around the house gives such a positive rush to the head. That's got to be a good thing!


hyacinths
- Featuring in the Dawanda Newsletter and Inspiration page with my tartan accessories!
- Trialling out some leather for a possible new shop accessory.

dawanda tartan accessories
- Adding more designs to my Etsy shop, including the Mother's Day Handkerchief gift set and being bowled over by the beautiful photography Onetenzeroseven did on this!
mother's day handkerchiefs
Image by Onetenzeroseven
Listening on repeat to Wheel by PJ Harvey, Floridada by Animal Collective and being stunned at the creative genius that is this video by OK Go, wowza! If that doesn't inspire you to be creative, then I don't know what will. Amazing!

18 February 2016

Spring colours: Buttercup Yellow

buttercup yellow spring


One of the colours that is suppose to be hot this spring is, Buttercup Yellow. I’m a big fan of yellow. It’s like a gorgeous dose of sunshine: bright, positive and warming!

Over on the Simple Stylish Makes blog I'm sharing some ways you can have fun with buttercup yellow this spring because it's only around the corner!

15 February 2016

Mother's Day DIY Gift ideas

With Mother's Day just around the corner, now's the time to get making that perfect gift for your wonderful Mum!

I've scoured Pinterest, so that you don't have to and put together a Mother's Day Pinterest board, full of DIY and handmade gift ideas. And here are some favourites from my board!


Being a huge fan of tea and handmade cards, I absolutely LOVE this Tea Cup Card by In The Playroom. It's super cute, easy to make and a great project for kids too!

mother's day card


Aren't these DIY photo magnets from Sundaesins adorable! I especially love these what with me getting all excited about photography recently!

photo magnets


Following on from the photography theme, these Instagram sachets and beanbags are a fabulous idea from Lil Blue Boo. These are surprisingly easy to make too!

instagram sachets



I've been starting to get back into printing recently, so this hand printed apron by Little Page Turners really caught my eye. What a lovely project to do with the kids and hey, you could even do this for Father's Day too because they wear aprons too! 

apron handprint


Nothing says Mother's Day than flowers, right? These mini flower bouquets by Homey Oh My! are soooooo pretty! 


 
I hope this has inspired you to get your craft on for Mother's Day! Don't forget you can get 10% off in my Etsy shop until the end of February simply by entering the following coupon code at the check-out: VALENTINES

Happy crafting!

13 February 2016

New in the shop: Denim Bow Ties

New in my Etsy and NOTHS shop, Denim Bow Tie!

Made from gorgeous denim, this comes with a metal clip on the back, so that it's super easy to fix on to a shirt. No faffing around required!

It also comes wrapped in a smart Adventures and Tea Parties gift box AND until the end of February you can pick it up from my Etsy shop with a sneaky 10% discount off! Just enter the following coupon code at checkout: VALENTINES

Lots more new shop goodies on the way, so stay tuned!

bow tie denim

bow tie denim

bow tie denim

bow tie denim
........
All images by Sophie at Onetenzeroseven

12 February 2016

What's on the jukebox, Jo?



Yay, it's Friday! Today I'm bombing down the motorway to see my Mum in gorgeous Somerset for some much needed r&r. As it's a beast of a drive, I'll be listening to a homemade mix cd, which I've called, "Happy". It's full of.....yes, tunes that make me feel happy and inspire me creatively. This one by Jackie Wilson features, as well as Chicken Shack and Chippy Tea, which always has me in stitches!


So, a weekend of getting away from it all is in order because this week has been another craaaazy one! I've opened another online shop over on DaWanda, made and sent out some personalised Love Heart Hanky Valentine's Day orders, blogged and prepared blogs for the freelance side of my business and I've been working on new designs. On top of that, there's been a tonne of admin and stressful correspondence to deal with - the boring and unglamorous side of running your own business.


AND I've added some new designs to my Etsy and NOTHS shops, including this cute little hand stitched keyring. The GORGEOUS photo below was taken by the super talented Sophie of Onetenzeroseven. Isn't it beautiful! Sophie is currently photographing all of my products, while I beaver away making new designs. I am completely in love with her photos, composition 
and styling :-)


With new designs and product images in mind, I'll be sharing lots of new products each week, so stay tuned on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook!



new_home_keyring
Image by Sophie at Onetenzeroseven





11 February 2016

Mrs Crafty B Interview

mrs crafty b interview
The fabulous Annie of Mrs Crafty B interviewed me this week! Pop on over here for a read to find out a little bit about me and my creative process.

10 February 2016

Haberdashery Corner: Pin Cushions

pin cushion
I confess, I’m a complete and utter pin cushion addict. What is it about those mini, plump cushions of fabric that are so appealing? You can never have too many, right?

Over on the Simple Stylish Makes blog I'm sharing some fabrics I love to make pin cushions out of. Pop on over for a look see and get whipping up a pin cushion to add to your collection!

9 February 2016

Valentine's Day Photography

Here are my latest photography homework snaps. 

With Valentine's Day fast approaching I decided to use the theme of love for these photos. The 'Little Grey Rabbit's Valentine' is from my Mum's book collection. She has some lovely old books, with their dust covers on still. For this shot, I decided to remove the dust cover as it was looking a little tired. I collected lots of blue bits and bobs, placing them around the book to make it the focus. I love finding and collecting photo props. Maybe it's the magpie in me :-)



With photography practice comes fresh flowers and I'm now buying them for myself on a regular basis....until the garden starts blooming again and I can pick my own. The house sure does smell incredible with all the blooms! These roses are pictured with my popular Love Heart Handkerchief.



If you fancy a look-see at more of my photography homework snaps, you can see them here and of course, there are lots more on my Instagram page!


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