Joanna makes lovely handmade and embroidered handkerchiefs and other accessories, which she sells on Etsy and Not On The High Street. Over on her blog she shares crafty tutorials and interviews lots of bloggers in her Blog Gem series. Joanna recently featured me and my work on her blog - it's very nice to be able to return the favour!
Hello there, I’m Joanna, the face behind Adventures & Tea Parties!
A&TP is my creative empire! It’s both the name of my crafty blog and also online business selling handmade accessories. I started it over 2 years ago on a bit of a whim and I think it’s safe to say it’s taken over my life…well, most of it! I still make time for my obsession with music, knitting (especially sock knitting!), food – both cooking it and eating out, photography and collecting kid’s books, particularly those with beautifully illustrated stories, like Oliver Jeffers’ or Shaun Tan books and above all of that spending time with my amazing family and friends.
As well as running A&TP, I am also a part-time Librarian in my university city of Leicester. I moved back to Leicester, having spent 7 fun years in London. I returned for a life of less expense, less commuting, cleaner air and I’ve not looked back since!
Recently I’ve been …
…. knitting socks to give as Christmas presents, while working my way through various TV series on Netflix in the evenings. Knitting is a great form of relaxation for me. It really helps switch off from business and work…and also means I properly chill out as I’m terrible at sitting still! I’m very geeky when it comes to knitting socks – I just love the whole construction of them and how they form as you knit them. There’s something kind of magical about it!
I’ve been working on…
… Christmas orders non stop but I’ve also been busy working on improving my handmade handkerchief designs and have just introduced a new one, which has different coloured hems. I’ve also combined that with my new gift boxes, which have my Studio Rokit brand image on.
I’ve also got a new accessory design in the pipeline, which I can’t reveal just yet as it’s still in the prototype stage. I’m really excited about it and wish I could tell you but it would ruin the surprise!
I’ve been blogging about…
….my work mainly, introducing my designs and giving a bit of background into how I create them and how they start out. I’m trying to show that the designs don’t just appear out of thin air and how a lot of love and hard work goes into them.
I also have a regular Friday feature on my blog called, ‘What’s on the dukebox, Jo?’ . Each week I share a link to a favourite song that’s been inspiring me to keep creating, crafting and making. I also alternate between three pictures (to accompany this series) of some music inspired embroidery I did a while back.
What with making and selling personalised handkerchiefs, I decided it was about time I looked at the history of that square piece of fabric! So, I’ve been looking into the background of handkerchiefs and blogging about them. They have a fascinating history!
I’ve been reading…
…. and have started making items from Tilly and the Button’s book. It’s a gorgeous book, so well written, easy to follow and ooh, I plan on making everything in it!
I’m also reading at night to help me drift off to sleep, Carrie’s War. It’s an old favourite of mine and is one of those books that I can pick up and read and re-read any time, even when times are stressful!
While I make shop orders....
... I listen to BBC Radio 6 Music. It’s the best station on earth in my opinion. Has a whole range of music, amazing interviews and Shaun Keaveny cracks me up, he’s soooo funny!
Joanna’s 3 Top Tips for Buying a Sewing Machine
1. Go to a specialist sewing machine shop, where they know what they’re talking about. Ask to try before you buy – if they’re a good shop, then this shouldn’t be a problem. I go to Sew…Northampton, who are absolutely fantastic! They know everything there is to know about sewing machines and they service them too, which is always a plus.
2. Set yourself a budget, stick to it and spend it! In the case of sewing machines, it really is true that the more you spend the more you get for your money!
3. Tell the shop owner what your budget is and what specifications you're looking for. They will pick out machines in your price range and to your specifications. That helps narrow things down and by saying what your budget is, you never know what offers they might give. Also, pick a reputable brand of machine!
Please note: the Amazon links in this post are affiliate links.