Wednesday, 31 January 2018

12 DIY Pun-tastic Valentine's Cards

I had lots of fun cutting and sticking last week, making 12 cute and totally pun-tastic Valentine's Day cards.

12 cute Valentine's days cards
 Cute Handmade Valentine's Day Cards

I made all these cards with paper and card from this fab, colourful paper pad. It includes some gorgeously bright colours and was a real joy to craft with in dark, depressing January!

Cute Pun-tastic Valentine's Day Cards
Cute Pun-tastic Valentine's Day Cards
Visit The Village Haberdashery's blog for the free tutorial and printable template sheets.

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Monday, 29 January 2018

Exploring Oxford: Magdalen College

I adore Oxford. I spent many happy days exploring the city during the years I lived near London, and took so very many photos that I've not yet got around to sharing with you guys.

So as well as (finally) blogging about my visits to Kew Gardens, I'll also be putting together a series of posts throughout this year to sing the praises of beautiful Oxford. I hope you'll enjoy them!

Let's start with one of my favourite colleges: Magdalen (pronounced "Maudlin").

 Magdalen College, Oxford
 Magdalen College, Oxford
 Magdalen College, Oxford

Magdalen College was founded in 1458 which sounds like a ridiculously long time ago but was actually a couple of centuries after the first of Oxford's colleges were founded!

 Magdalen College, Oxford
 Magdalen College, Oxford
 Magdalen College, Oxford
Magdalen College, Oxford
Magdalen College, Oxford
It can be a slightly surreal and really quite humbling experiece to visit places like this and to stop and think about all the people who have stood in that same spot over the years, enjoying much the same views as you are now.

 Magdalen College, Oxford
Magdalen College, Oxford
 Magdalen College, Oxford

You can read about the College's history here, and about the College buildings here. I particularly loved the cloisters, of course, but also found myself very charmed by this gate.

Magdalen College, Oxford
 Magdalen College, Oxford

As always when visiting Oxford's colleges, you can't help but appreciate the grandness of the architecture, the views across quads and courtyards, and the way buildings of different ages nestle up against each other.

Magdalen College, Oxford
 Magdalen College, Oxford
 Magdalen College, Oxford
  Magdalen College, Oxford

It's always worth taking the time to pay attention to the small things, too. To look closely at craftsmanship and decorative details, to look up at gargoyles and carved ceilings or down at intricate tiles or beautifully weathered paving slabs.

I especially loved these angels...

Magdalen College, Oxford
Magdalen College, Oxford

... and that lock! What a thing of beauty.

Magdalen College, Oxford

Magdalen is open to visitors regularly throughout the year, there is an admission charge but you may be able to visit it for free during the annual Oxford Open Doors heritage festival held in September (I adore Oxford Open Doors!).

Want more Oxford pics? You can read about a spring visit of mine to the city here and here, and a summer day trip here. All my Oxford-related posts can be found here.

Friday, 26 January 2018

Felt Weather Mobile Tutorial

Learn how to sew a cute felt weather mobile!

I designed this mobile as a workshop project for The Village Haberdashery last year. Sadly the class didn't go ahead but happily I've turned it into a free tutorial for their blog instead (yay!).
As well as making a full mobile, you could also use this tutorial for making individual felt rainbows, rain clouds and smiling suns. They'd make fab felt brooches or ornaments, or you could use them to decorate other projects - a felt rainbow would look awesome wherever you decide to stitch it.

Click here to find the templates and step by step tutorial over on The Village Haberdashery's blog. 

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Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Kew Gardens in January: Calm Waters & Bare Rocks

Time for another batch of photos from my visits to Kew Gardens! In my first blog post I wrote about visiting the Mediterranean garden, crossing the lake, and walking through the treetops... but that was actually how I spent my first afternoon at Kew.

I arrived rather late in the morning having convinced myself that I was too busy to go, then changed my mind and finally got on a train mid-morning. I was still feeling rather stressed but instantly felt happy and relaxed when I walked through the gates and saw this view.

The famous Palm House looked so splendid, and the light on the water so lovely... and the gardens stretching out beyond so full of possibilities! I honestly feel relaxed just looking at these photos again, the memory of that feeling is so strong.

I'd decided to "save" the Palm House for a future visit, so I strolled around the pond instead and headed for another of Kew's glasshouses: the Princess of Wales Conservatory. 

One of the nicest ways to walk to the Conservatory is via the rock garden. You get to enjoy the quiet charms of the rock garden itself - subtle planting amidst rocks, pools and little waterfalls - against the backdrop of the architecture of the Conservatory which runs along side it.

The Conservatory itself is a joy. It's made up of ten different climate zones, with a huge variety of different plants on display.

Kew's annual Orchids Festival is held in the Conservatory each February - if you visit in late January, like I did, you get a sneak peek at the displays as they're slowly assembled.


Just a hint of the riot of colour to come, but a very tantalising one!

More Kew updates (including lots of orchids, of course) sometime soon...

Click here to read my first blog post about Kew Gardens in January.

Monday, 22 January 2018

Geometric Faux Leather Necklace Tutorial

UPDATE: my vegan faux leather craft tutorials are now available here on my blog! Make a lightning bolt brooch, a geometric necklace, a star headband, or a mini covered notebook.


The final faux leather tutorial I designed for The Village Haberdashery is now up on their blog: how to make a geometric necklace!

I loved working with the sheets of faux leather, especially the metallic gold - doesn't it look fab with the turquoise blue?

Click here for the step-by-step necklace tutorial.

And here are some handy links to the faux leather tutorials I wrote earlier: a star headband, a mini notebook,and a lightning bolt brooch. The headband, necklace and lightning bolt would also be fab made with felt!

Subscribe to my newsletter for a monthly free pattern and visit my crafty tutorial archive for lots more free projects.

Friday, 19 January 2018

New in My Shop: Felt Primroses and Auriculas Tutorial

I added another felt flower pattern to my Etsy shop this week: primroses and auriculas. 

Felt primrose and auricula brooches

You can sew lots of cheerful spring flowers with this pattern!

 Lots of spring felt flower brooches

Along with the main tutorials for sewing trio and solo primrose and auricula brooches...

 Felt primrose brooches
 Felt auricula brooches

... I've also included instructions for making simple-but-lovely circle brooches.

You can change the felt and thread colours to create a whole assortment of pretty primulas...

 Felt primula or primrose brooches

... and I've included examples of ways to vary the auriculas, too!

 Felt auricula flower brooches

As well as making felt brooches, you could use this pattern to add spring flowers to anything you fancy (hair clips, statement necklaces, lavender sachets, purses, cards, etc). Sew flowers on everything!

Click here to find the tutorial in my shop.

Primroses & Auriculas PDF Sewing Tutorial by Laura Lupin Howard