Friday 29 January 2016

Fuzzy Nostalgia

Remember all those puzzles and games hidden away in our attic? Well, brace yourself for a bit more childhood nostalgia because...


... we found a box of Fuzzy-Felt!

What fun this stuff was!

We spent hours and hours and hours as kids re-arranging these little felt pieces and using them to tell all kinds of stories.

Sadly they don't stick to the board any more, and some of the pieces are definitely showing their age.

It feels totally wrong to just throw them away though, so I'm thinking maybe I should make something from them? Maybe combine them with some plain felt and patterned papers to make some nostalgic cards to send to my friends? Hmmm...

I shall add the pieces to my box of "random things that might be useful for a crafty project sometime" (every crafter has a box like that, right??) and see if/when inspiration strikes!

P.S. You might also enjoy these posts about board games, toys, books, erasers, badges and stickers from my 80s childhood :)

Tuesday 26 January 2016

Take Photos, Edit, Repeat...

... that pretty much sums up my recent days!

I've been working on some tutorials (with lots of steps to photograph), and I'm also clearing out a whole bunch of craft supplies which all need sorting, measuring, weighing (and, of course, photographing) before I can add them to the destash sale over in my Etsy shop.

There'll be some colourful felt bundles...

... lots of fat quarters (and a few half yards, too)...


... an assortment of other fabric & felt pieces, and some other bits and bobs as well.

I'm calling this my "Laura looked at her huge stash of craft supplies and was brutally honest with herself about what she's actually going to use" sale. It includes things I bought years ago for projects which I've now totally abandoned (like my plan to make cushions... to match a sofa I now no longer own).

Instead of all this loveliness sitting neglected in my stash for several more years, I hope it can find new homes and finally get made into new things!

With luck, I should have all this crafty goodness listed in a couple of days. I'll announce here on my blog when the listings are live in my shop :)

Friday 22 January 2016

Nine Years of Blogging + a Faraway Feature

Believe it or not, this week I celebrated the NINE YEAR anniversary of my blog.

In my very short first post back in 2007 I wrote that I hoped blogging would "encourage me to make more stuff" and it has certainly done that! I have made and blogged about a lot of crafty stuff over the past nine years, and my blog has helped me connect with loads of lovely, creative people and led to so many interesting and exciting opportunities for me and my business (including writing my books!).

Whether you're a new reader or a long-time one, or just a passer-by who has stumbled onto this post on your internet travels, thank you so much for reading! :)

Talking of things that would never have happened without my blog and the magic of the internet...

... one of my projects is currently featured in a magazine on the other side of the world: Australian Homespun (which is apparently the no.1 craft magazine in Australia! Exciting!).

It might be cold and dark and wet here at the moment, but in Australia it's the middle of summer so this issue is full of cheerful summer-y things like quilt patterns inspired by ice-creams and beach umbrellas, a round-up of sunny fabrics, and those charming Victorian bather dolls featured on the cover.


On page 14 you'll also find a trio of seashell-themed projects found on Pinterest, including the seashells I designed to accompany the sea creatures in my second book, Super-Cute Felt Animals.


Click here for the free tutorials for making your own felt seashells.

Many thanks to the team at Homespun for featuring my project and for sending me a copy of the magazine!

Wednesday 20 January 2016

East London Snaps

It's been a busy few days here as I've been rushing round drawing, cutting, sticking, painting, photographing, editing, writing, etc to meet a deadline - fun, but slightly hectic, especially with the limited hours of winter daylight!

On my To Do list for the rest of this week (once I've done a post-deadline tidy-up of my studio and caught up with my emails) is taking and editing lots of photos.

I have some fun things to show you, plus lots of crafty supplies that I cleared out over the Christmas break which now need photographing and adding to my shop (I'll let you all know when they've been listed, of course).

I've also got a whole bunch of Nice Day Out photos to catch up on editing so I can share some more of my 2015 trips with you guys. 

In the meantime, here are a few snaps from a visit to East London back in November:

Walking from point A to point B I couldn't resist taking a detour down some of the side streets I passed along the way.

So many interesting details and splashes of colour! 

Sunday 17 January 2016

Felt-y Bargains!

I've reduced some prices over in my sample sale - each item is now just £3 or less!

Click here to view everything in my sample sale and treat yourself or a friend to something felt-y :)

P.S. In my shop at the moment you'll also find pompom gift-wrapping packs for adding fun and fluffiness to your packages, and an assortment of fabric and other crafty supplies I'm de-stashing. 

Wednesday 13 January 2016

2015 In Review: A Year of Craftiness (part two)

Time for part two of my look back at the crafty, bloggy things I got up to in 2015. You can read all about what I got up to in January - August in part one


... I started #Crafting365, doing something crafty each day and sharing a photo of it. This sadly didn't last the whole 365 days (or anywhere near it!) but it did lead to a highly enjoyable burst of creative energy this autumn and a whole flurry of making.

I worked on some colourful felt cushion covers, did lots of knitting and embroidered some text; I cut and stitched lots and lots of felt flowers and re-knitted lots of blanket squares; and I dabbled in embroidery, making envelopes, playing with paint, experimenting with yarn and knitting mini squares.

I also made gift boxes, added pompom gift-wrapping packs to my shop and blogged about a new kids craft book, Sewn Together, which includes fun felt headbands designed by me.


... my daily crafting continued, with knitting, quilting and embroidery, plus scrapbooking, cross stitch, felt crafting and a DIY haircut.

I shared tutorials for making a starry skies brooch and a felt bow brooch, and I spilled the beans about making a Christmas quilt (this wasn't finished in time for this Christmas but it WILL be in time for next year!).

I blogged about old puzzles and games we found in the attic, a bear I made for my sister when I was about eight, and a set of felt Christmas ornaments I designed for Creativity magazine (which were so much fun to make).

I also got to let the cat out of the bag about several exciting projects. The eight festive projects I designed for 'Tis the Season to Be Felt-y! The four plush animals I designed for Sew Sweet Creatures! The partridge and pear wreath I designed for the cover of Mollie Makes!

It's funny how often projects you've been working on for ages, all at different times, get revealed in a cluster like that. Anyone reading my blog in October must have thought I was some sort of crafty superwoman, but there were many months of keeping secrets and many, many hours of designing and drawing and stitching behind the scenes before that cluster of slightly over-excited posts saying "look what I made!!!!"


... I got crafty with felt leaves and glitter and did colouring in and lots of autumnal knitting, I finished the Christmas quilt top, made things from craft kits, stitched lots of felt flowers and doodled in cafes.

I got a crafty tattoo (well, kind of), shared a tutorial for making stripy cards from colourful scrap paper, and created a DIY Advent calendar with a twist for Tesco Living.

I also shared a tutorial for making embroidered felt Christmas baubles, and blogged about a couple of magazine projects: fabric hydrangeas for Mollie Makes and a reindeer jumper for Creativity (complete with jingle bell antlers and a pompom tail!).

Finally, in DECEMBER...

... I blogged about my visit to Renegade London (aka the best craft fair ever), reviewed an evolution-themed colouring book (fun!) and made plans for finishing my rainbow blanket and my mini patchwork squares blanket.

I also did a lot of simple knitting and not much else, so I decided to press pause on my #Crafting365 project. As a "professional crafty person" it was quite embarrassing to admit to going through a creative dry patch, but I always think it's important to be honest about these things and it was a huge relief to remove that (entirely self-created) "obligation" to be posting daily updates about my creative projects.

I ended up taking a break from social media and blogging over the holiday season and I found it very refreshing! I will continue to make stuff and share it online in 2016, of course, but at a pace that fits better with my life and the ebbs and flows of my creativity.

I hope you'll stick around to see what crafty projects the next twelve months will bring :)

Monday 11 January 2016

2015 In Review: A Year of Craftiness (part one)

Last year I set myself a de-stashing challenge but otherwise didn't give myself any specific goals for the year. Instead I wrote that I'd "just be focusing on working hard to grow my business and doing my best to fill my year with designing, making, writing, cuppas and catch ups with friends, decluttering, good books, tasty cake, happy post, Nice Days Out... and lots of other good stuff."

2015 was a little quiet but it was filled with all those things, so I am counting it as a success :)

I might not be a huge fan of New Year's Resolutions but I am a big fan of using this time of year to look back at the previous 12 months and take stock of the ups and downs, ready to re-focus and move forwards into the new year. 

I'll be blogging about my Nice Days Out in a separate post (it was a busy year of travels!) but first, here's what I got up to on the crafty, bloggy side of things... 


... I made a start on my "Use It or Lose It" destashing challenge: "to either get on and actually make stuff with the supplies in my stash, or admit to myself that I'm never going to use them for anything and just get rid of them."

I'd envisioned a year of making things inspired by random supplies in my crafty stash, with lots of blogging about the projects, but I didn't use up as many of my supplies as I'd hoped. I did clear out a lot of stuff though and my studio is looking all the better for it! The disconnect between my visions of all the projects I'd like to make and the reality of the amount of time I have available to actually make things is, of course, why I had all these unused craft supplies sitting around in the first place.

In January I made lavender sachets (completing 29 in total!), worked on my patchwork mini squares blanket and shared the felt bird mobile I made for Creativity magazine. 

I celebrated whole years of blogging (almost nine years now, eek!), vented some printer rage after doing my accounts, blogged about things I need to stop buying and some very tempting fabric, reviewed Knitting Smitten, and featured Crafty Ladies Kate from Made by Mrs M and Nicole from Follow the White Bunny.

I also finally blogged about my trip to the Thread festival of textiles, way back in September of 2014! I might have been blogging for 8+ years but I am still a bad, slow blogger, haha.


... I blogged about a colourful floral belt and headband I'd stitched for Creativity magazine, started an old/new floral embroidery project, shared some of the wonderful sky blankets inspired by mine, and organized lots of magazine clippings (for what I pretentiously refer to as "my archive", which makes me feel much more important than I actually am!).

I also featured Crafty Ladies Laura from Made Peachy and Wendi from Shiny Happy World, reviewed Studio Life, and got excited about some awesome sewing-themed clothing and a visiting trio of goldfinches (I love goldfinches).


... I worked on a floral cross stitch, a scrappy cross stitch and my floral embroidery project, then finished the embroidered flower but wasn't 100% happy with it so decided to stitch another version... and I confessed to abandoning my sky pompoms project (so many feeeeeeeeelings).

My work popped up in a new issue of Made in Felt (which also included a kind, surprise mention of my blog!) and in Love Sewing Australia. I was also delighted to announce German and Italian editions of my books (so thrilling).

I also resolved to try and read more books (this was semi- but not super-successful!) reviewed Crafty Dolls and featured Crafty Ladies Gretel Parker and Laura from Laurafallulah.


... I finished the second version of my embroidered flower and shared the pattern. I blogged about the biscuit-themed mug mat I'd stitched for Creativity magazine and shared a tutorial for making a box of sunshine, celebrating the release of Annie on DVD (this was a sponsored post which I know some people aren't huge fans of but this was actually one of my fave projects of the year - it was a huge amount of fun to make and I was so pleased with how it turned out!)

I also reviewed Ladies of Letterpress, got excited about the upcoming London Craft Week and lined up all my finished sky pompoms so I could share some photos of them in all their fluffy glory along with tips on making your own sky pompoms should you decide to record the weather in pompom form.

In MAY...

... I blogged about my childhood eraser collection! I wanted to keep a few special pieces with particular sentimental meaning and to record the whole collection before finding a new home for some or all of it. I ended up selling all but my few favourite pieces to someone with an eraser collection of their own (they were thrilled) and donating the money to a charity of my mum's choice (she'd bought most of the erasers for me when I was a kid, after all!). The money ended up going to a children's charity, so something once-beloved-but-no-longer-wanted from my childhood has ended up helping kids enjoy theirs. Perfect.

There was more nostalgia as I found She-Ra books and a trio of Keypers in my parents attic, and my eraser collection made an appearance in Mollie Makes.

I also blogged about two projects I'd designed for Creativity magazine - a button cushion and a village of felt houses (the felt houses tutorial can now be found online, here). I shared tutorials for two projects I'd made for Creativity the year before - a cute cat pincushion and a folk flower brooch - and finally bought the missing yarn needed to re-start a neglected woodland-themed project ("I'm resolving to get this finished by Christmas 2015 at the very latest", I wrote, but it's still very much a work in progress. I will eventually finish this project! I will! I swear!)

In JUNE...

... I shared a tutorial for making felt swan brooches or collar clips, got hold of a copy of the Italian edition of Super-Cute Felt (my first book), and admitted to myself that I was never going to finish a couple of long neglected "in-progress" knitting projects and unravelled them to make mini squares for my patchwork blanket.

I also did more destashing, explored the different names and animal noises in the German edition of Super-Cute Felt Animals (my second book) and blogged about the start of London Craft Week (so awesome!).

In JULY...

... things were a little quiet on my blog as I suffered an attack of blogger's block (ugh). Luckily the kitties were on hand to cheer me up and keep me company as I took some time off.

I blogged about a couple of recent projects for Creativity magazine - a festival-inspired bag and an embroidered heart which the Creativity team turned into a lovely card (the tutorial is now available online, here) - and my decision to turn my in-progress brightly coloured "happy" blanket into a happy rainbow blanket (mmm... rainbows...).

I also wrote about turning 33, and a wonderfully busy afternoon at London Craft Week (I have realised writing this that my final London Craft Week recap is still sitting in my drafts folder! Oh dear!).


... I realised I'd knitted a bunch of squares the wrong size and had to unravel them all and begin the slow process of re-knitting them. Ugh.

In happier crafty news, I got to blog about two projects I designed for a new kids craft book, Craft Camp, and some felt ice lollies and felt fruit I made for Creativity magazine (the felt fruit tutorial is now available online, here).

I also designed a heart for a Mollie Makes feature about the Craftivist Collective's latest campaign, took part in a summer postcard swap, shared lots of awesome things people have been making from my patterns and supplies bought from me and blogged about my childhood shell collection.

My shells found a new home with Polly, who is practically a mermaid so was the perfect person to take charge of these! She's already used some of the shells for a crafty project, which was awesome to see after so many years of them sitting forgotten and neglected in a box.

My look back at my crafty 2015 will continue in part two, later this week...