Monday, 15 October 2018

Bargain Craft Books + a Sample Sale

My parents' copy of the Book People catalogue popped through their door this morning...

... and look what's inside!

The new edition of my first book, Super-Cute Felt, is currently available from The Book People at the totally bargainous price of just £4.99.

I make very little money from these kinds of discount sales but I always think it's important to share them with you guys when I spot them, because... well, who doesn't love a bargain craft book?

At this price you could totally buy a copy for all your friends and relations this Christmas, haha. 

Super-Cute Felt is of course also available from Amazon UK or Amazon USA, from the Book Depository (where you can get free worldwide delivery), or via your local bookshop, or direct from my publisher.

Psst - those Amazon and Book Depository links are affiliate links, which means if you click on the links and buy something I'll get a small percentage for the referral.

In other news: over at the Village Haberdashery they're having a sample sale of lots of items made for their blog tutorials, classes and shop displays... including a whole bunch of wreaths and other bits and bobs made by me!

Click here to view everything currently available in the sample sale.

Friday, 12 October 2018

Autumn at Kew: Colour & Texture

Kew Gardens is full of loveliness in the autumn, and not just because of all the trees! Here's some of the gorgeous colour and texture I spotted on my autumn visit...

Some parts of the garden are fading at this time of year, while others are in full bloom and bursting with colour.

I was particularly charmed by this border. I don't know what kind of plants these are but they are rather wonderful, and not at all the usual shades I'd associate with autumn.

I loved this tree in the rock garden...

... these almost flame-like leaves...

... and these fabulous honey-coloured grasses.

They look so soft and fluffy, don't they?

There were still a few roses just clinging on in the rose garden. Fabulous bursts of colour popping up now and then like the memory of summer.

Plants take on a really sculptural quality in the autumn, don't you think?

In the spirit of leaving the best until last, my favourite autumnal find was this rather magical corner.

This is a lovely, peaceful spot all year round, with benches and a water sculpture within a circle of hedges. But with the leaves yellowing and illuminated by the warm autumn light? Truly wonderful, like something out of a fairytale.

Visit my crafty tutorial archive for lots of projects inspired by the magic of autumn.

Catch up on all my posts about Kew Gardens.

View my travel archive for lots more posts about my days out in London and around the UK.

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

The Christmas Magazine 2018

This year's issue of The Christmas Magazine is out now, and it includes five crafty projects by me!

One of them even made the cover - yay!

Sadly it's hidden behind the cover gift when the magazine is sitting on the shelf, but it's still very fun to spot copies of this in my local supermarkets and newsagents.

The mag is apparently the UK's biggest selling Christmas magazine. It includes loads of ideas for the festive season: from fashion to family activities to recipes... and, of course, crafting.

You can make my felt Christmas stocking...

... stitch my angel embroidery...

... sew some of my felt snow globe ornaments...

... and make my felt penguins and retro Christmas cards.

Look! It's baby me, attempting to eat wrapping paper, in a magazine! How weird is that?!

Can't find The Christmas Magazine in your local supermarket? You can buy a copy online, here.

Monday, 8 October 2018

My Flat in Progress: July & August 2018

Time for another DIY update!

After getting stuck into lots of projects in May and June, we pressed pause again in July because of the hot weather. I totally wilt in the heat and so does my dad so neither of us really wanted to be stuck in the hottest room of my flat during a heatwave.

I continued to think about things like where to hand pictures and what furniture I was (eventually) going to put where, but all I really achieved in July was ordering a bigger light shade for the living room ceiling and hanging it up slightly wonkily. (It does look good, though!)

In August I started framing more pictures, mounting them nicely and adding some acid-free paper at the back to help protect them from my cheap frames. I also added D-rings and picture cord to a whole bunch of chunk box frames which had hooks so far inside the deep frames that it was almost impossible to hang them as they were.

I'd only noticed this, er, helpful feature after I'd bought the frames and put pictures in them, and I was a bit worried I was just going to have to buy another batch of frames from somewhere else and that my cheap frames were going to have turned out to be a total waste of money... so I was very happy when the D-ring and picture cord plan worked out! (Buying a bunch of D-rings and picture cord was much cheaper than replacing the frames would have been).

While I was busy prepping pictures, my dad hung the first thing up on the wall in my lounge: my noticeboard. (Very important!).

I'd already stuck a whole load of postcards up on my old pinboard to decorate it last year, and it had been hanging around waiting to get hung up ever since. I'm glad we waited, because this summer my mum decided to buy a bigger noticeboard for her kitchen and I got to snaffle her old one... which was bigger than my old one, and a bit fancier too with proper fixings for screwing it to the wall instead of being held up by a slightly wobbly bit of cord. Of course, this meant that I had to do a bit of rearranging of the decorative bits and bobs but that was no hardship (rearranging decorative bits and bobs is the best bit!).

My workspace is at one end of my living room, with my desk in the bay window (perfect for photo sessions!). The noticeboard is actually behind me as I work but it's still really convenient for pinning important work and life stuff where I won't lose it.


The wall of shelves look nice and organised but it won't be staying like this. The two bookcases will be moving into my bedroom when it's decorated, and a second unit matching the one with my printer on it will be going in this space instead. I'm not sure what (if anything) will go next to that, or where I'm going to put my stereo... but these are problems for solving on a future occasion.

If you stand back a bit, the lounge doesn't look quite so tidy!

As you can see, I still have an island of furniture and other stuff in the middle of the room while we're working on the bedroom. There are pictures spread everywhere, too, as I'm gradually getting everything framed and mounted and trying out possible arrangements.

After hanging the noticeboard, I finally made a start on pulling the tabs of all my curtains about a year and a half after we first hung them up! They still need a bit of tweaking but you can see the difference it's already made: the curtain on the left is unpulled, and the right pulled. 

I pulled the tabs of the lounge curtains (above), and the ones from the spare bedroom and kitchen (below) and I'll do the bedroom curtains when they're eventually hung back up (they're currently shoved in a drawer under a bed in my parents' house while my bedroom is still a messy work-in-progress).

I also finally turned up the last of the net curtains (the ones in the living room), which was a job that took so little time I have no idea why I'd not got round to it sooner.

Still working on small tasks because of the heat we replacced a whole bunch of the old electical socket covers and light switches around the house (because despite our cleaning efforts the old ones were still pretty grubby with old paint, etc), and we swapped some furniture around.

That empty bookcase (previously located in the oh so stylish furniture island in my lounge) got moved into the kitchen for my pots and pans and tins and things (my kitchen cabinets themselves are super musty so I'm stuck using freestanding shelving until I can get the kitchen renovated)... and the shelf unit which previously stood in this corner of the kitchen got taken to my parents house and stashed in their shed ready for repainting.

The shelf unit matches the one in the lounge that's currently got my printer on it, which is also going to get repainted a lovely fresh gloss white at some point - along with my coffee table which has been in serious need of a new coat of paint for at least a decade. My mum is great at painting furniture, so I'm hoping she'll teach me all her secrets!

Elsewhere in the flat, we tidied up the mess in the bedroom and in the hallway...


... cleaned the DIY-related dust from the bedroom floor...

... and put together the giant jigsaw puzzle of hardboard, nailing it down ready for my bedroom carpet to be fitted later in the year.


Oh, and I also cleaned a few of the old hearth tiles to get a better look at the pattern before we covered them up again! Aren't they pretty?

Hopefully I'll have lots more exciting home improvements to share with you guys soon! In the meantime, you can catch up with the DIY story so far here.