Friday, 16 March 2018

Special Offer: Crafty Bargains!

Psst - bargain alert! Everything left in my destash & decluttering sale is now half the listed price until the end of March 2018.

The offer excludes postage costs, but (as always) you'll only pay exactly what it costs me to send your package.

There's handmade goodness...

... craft books...

... craft supplies...

... and a few other lovely bits and bobs I no longer have room for:

Click here to see everything available!

P.S. If you don't have an Instagram account, you can message me via my contact form and I'll get back to you asap. 

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Kew Gardens in March: Signs of Spring

During my year's membership of Kew Gardens I sometimes struggled to find the time to take proper days off and go visit the gardens, but when I did it was so worth it.

In January I explored the rock garden and the Princess of Wales Conservatory, then took a walk round the gardens enjoying the bare trees and occasional bits of winter colour. I was busy with deadlines in February, so by the time March rolled round I couldn't wait to go back!

After the rather grey weather in January it was wonderful to have a day of blue skies and sunshine. The first signs of spring were showing themselves - daffodils by the Temple of Aeolus (the ruler of the winds)...

... and carpets of crocuses, gleaming in the spring light. 

What a difference a bit of blue sky makes! The gardens were still looking rather bare, but the buildings gleamed and the branches of the trees looked quite gorgeous against a backdrop of blue.


I revisited some of the areas of the gardens that I'd been to before, like the lake (there's something so calming about a stroll round a lake, isn't there?)...

... and explored some new ones, including the Great Pagoda, the Japanese Landscape and the Marianne North Gallery (so fabulous!).

After my walk (and a cuppa and a piece of cake - v. important) I headed indoors to enjoy the Orchids Festival... which I'll be blogging about next week. Spoiler: there were a LOT of orchids!

Want more Kew pics? Click here to see all the posts in the series so far.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Subscriber Exclusive: Make a Felt Bird Mask

This month's exclusive pattern for my newsletter subscribers is... a felt bird mask!

I used to sell these bird masks in my shop, they're really fun to make and even more fun to wear.

This year I'm sending out an email newsletter about once a week, with an update of what I've been making and doing lately, plus links to my latest blog posts and tutorials and lots of creative and colourful things to inspire you.

It's free to sign up, and each month this year you'll get exclusive access to a free crafty pattern.

I had to take some time off in February due to illness and took a little break from sending my weekly newsletter, but I don't want people to have missed out on February's mallard duck pattern. So if you sign up this month (March 2018) you'll get access to February's duck AND March's bird mask... then if you stay subscribed, you'll get a new free pattern each month as the year progresses.

Sounds good? Click here to subscribe to my newsletter!

Friday, 9 March 2018

DIY Felt Butterfly Hairclips Tutorial

My latest tutorial for The Village Haberdashery's blog is all about felt butterflies!

Use the free patterns and step-by-step tutorial to make some pretty felt butterfly hairclips:

Felt Butterfly Hairclips
Felt butterfly hair clips
This tutorial is part of a spin-off series, showing ways you can reuse some of the patterns from my A Year of Wreaths project. I originally designed the felt butterflies for June's butterfly wreath.

 Yarn-wrapped wreath decorated with felt butterflies

Click here for the butterfly hairclips tutorial!

You'll find the butterfly wreath tutorial here and you can explore all the wreaths in the series here.

12 seasonal wreath tutorials

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

March Meet The Maker 2018

This month I'm taking part in Joanne Hawker's annual Instagram challenge for creatives: #MarchMeetTheMaker.

The basic idea of this challenge is that there's a short prompt for each day of the month, and you use that as a springboard to showcase your "business story" - letting people discover a bit more about you, your creative process, how you run your business, etc. You can read more about the challenge here.

Exploring everyone's posts is a great way to discover new-to-you artists, makers and other small businesses, and to learn more about your crafty pals and creative faves. I'm really loving the community feel created by lots of people chatting about the same topics each day!

Here are the first few pics I've shared for the challenge (following the links will take you directly to them, and my captions)... 

You can see all the pics I post through the month over on my Instagram account, lauralupinhoward. I hope you'll enjoy following along!

Monday, 5 March 2018

DIY Felt Daffodil Headband Tutorial

One of my favourite things about felt crafting is how, with a bit of imagination, you can use one tutorial to make lots of different things. You can switch up colours, enlarge pattern pieces, add decorative details, turn a brooch into an ornament or sew it as a patch, recreate a design using coloured paper or card... there are always so many possibilities!

My new series of tutorials for The Village Haberdashery's blog springs from this idea, as I'm sharing some fun new ways to re-use the templates from my A Year of Wreaths projects.

First up: a felt daffodil headband!

Felt daffodil headband

This design is perfect for spring parties, or for adding a bit of floral fun to any outfit.

Pretty felt daffodil headband

Click here for the step by step daffodil headband tutorial.

And click here to make the felt daffodils wreath or here to find links to all 12 wreaths in the series.

Felt Daffodils Wreath for Spring

P.S. Want even more spring craft ideas? Check out this post for butterflies, bunnies and more!

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Reading More Books (But Not Blogging About Them)

My New Year's Resolution last year was to to try to read more books and to blog about my progress.

I managed the first bit okay(ish), but I totally failed at the second part. I started off super keen, photographing all the books I was reading and writing what I thought would be the first of a series of monthly blog posts (haha). I didn't blog about books again until August, but I kept track of my reading all the way through spring and most of the summer.

I bought books from my local bookshop, and second hand. I borrowed them from the library and from my mum.


I read books in bed first thing in the morning (sometimes with a cat for company)...

... while eating breakfast...

... on trains, in cafes, on lazy summer afternoons...


... just before bed, and late at night when I couldn't sleep.


I read fun books and boring books, old faves and new discoveries, some I absolutely adored and some which were so terrible that I'm baffled as to why they are (apparently) so popular.

I kept a draft blog post running with photos and a list of the books I'd been reading. Then when I discovered the joys of audiobooks in the summer I dutifully took screenshots of each book I started, still thinking "I'll get round to blogging about these sometime soon!"

My enthusiasm for reading waxed and waned through the year but at no point did I actually feel excited to blog about what I was reading. It gradually dawned on me that this was because I don't actually enjoy blogging about books that much and the act of keeping track of everything I was reading was sucking a lot of the joy out of the process.

For neatness though, I've had a think and tallied the books I read from June to December. Excluding the books I've forgotten about, all the books I started but gave up on and the many many books which I keep meaning to finish but just not getting round to, I read The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett , The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley, The Cuckoo's Calling, The Silkworm & Career of Evil  by Robert Galbraith, The Other Mrs Walker by Mary Paulson-Ellis, and The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham.

I also listened to How to Stop Time by Matt Haig, The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan, Rack, Ruin & Murder by Ann Granger, Death Descends on Saturn Villa by M. R. Kasasian, A Study in Brimstone & The Hell-Hound of the Baskervilles by G. S. Denning, Tales from the Dead of Night: 13 Classic Ghost Stories, Origin by Dan Brown, Murder by Sarah Pinborough, one of the volumes of The Time Traveller's Almanac, and La Belle Sauvage by Phillip Pullman.

So (along with the 13 books I read earlier in the year), that's about 31 books in total for 2017. Not a particularly impressive number but definitely a lot more than I read in 2016.

I don't know how many books I'll end up reading (or listening to) this year. I hope it's more than 31 but it might well be less. Either way, I definitely won't be blogging about them!

Please note: the Amazon links in this post are affiliate links, so if you click through and end up buying something (anything!) on Amazon during that session I get a very small payment for the referral.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Tutorial: Embroidered Felt Plant Lady Brooches

If your home is full of plants (or you wish that it was) then you'll love my latest tutorial for The Village Haberdashery!

DIY Felt Plant Lady Brooches Tutorial

 Stitch an embroidered "Plant Lady" brooch...

DIY Embroidered Plant Lady Brooch

... sew a little felt cactus...

Felt Cactus Brooch Tutorial

... or make a monstera leaf!

Felt Monstera Leaf Brooch Tutorial

Click here for the free templates and step-by-step tutorial.