As I have mentioned previously countless times on this blog, I adore learning new things. I could happily wake up and learn a new skill every single day if it were at all possible; this weekend I tried my hand at spoon whittling at End of the Road festival, and the week before I had the chance to get stuck into a clay workshop at Studio Upstairs, as they are the charity partner for this year’s Affordable Art Fair, taking place in the city this weekend. Read More
Bristol is fantastic at nurturing amazing creative talent. You could fill your whole home, not just your wardrobe without leaving the city limits if you really wanted to. In my quest for more mindful consumption and ethical fashion choices, I started looking for a decent replacement for the knackered old sandals which had served me well since last summer. That’s when I stumbled across the brilliant Ottowin. Read More
I was thinking the other day about how I rarely talk about one of my favourite pastimes on this here blog, which is unusual considering that this supposed to be an online diary of sorts; an extension of my life. I think it’s hard sometimes to get caught up in the auld ‘what I want to post’ vs ‘what I should be posting’, ie. getting paranoid that I’m not posting enough flatlays of rose gold sunglasses next to immaculate lattes on a marble background. Should I be posting things like that? Should I ease up on the pizza photos on Instagram and instead curate my grid so all the colours match?
I don’t mean for that to sound catty. I am in awe of what other people do but sometimes its hard to not compare yourself to others and try to emulate exactly what they are doing. What I’m trying to get at is that I’m not really what you would describe as a ‘typical’ blogger. That is, my interests extend into the realm of the slightly off kilter, and I’m not very good at keeping to a regular posting schedule.
What I am reeeeally trying to get at is that I never talk about morris dancing on le blog, and it’s been taking over my life slowly but surely over the last 6 months. In case you missed it, I’ve been hopping with Boss Morris since last November, and it’s been more fun that I possibly could have imagined, and more than you can shake a hazel stick at. Boss aren’t your typical morris side; we’re an all-female ensemble (other than our ace accordion player Mark) made up of artists and makers from Stroud, and there’s a fair amount more neon colours and face paint than average morris-ers.
(You might be thinking ‘but you don’t live in Stroud, Lily’, and you would be correct. I drive there every week for practice. DON’T LET ANYTHING COME BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR DREAMS.)
A few months ago Boss had the excellent opportunity of hopping in the new Sweet Baboo vid for his song ‘Pink Rainbow’, which was being directed by the ace Bristol-based Hankin Films. It was a bit of a surreal afternoon of arsing about in front of a green screen in a tiny room, eating houmous and generally having a laugh. Plus it meant I got to meet Sweet Babs himself, who I have been a bit of a fan of for a good few years.
Anyway, the video was released about a week ago and you can have a peek below.
I love learning new things. I relish nothing more than sitting down and taking the time to learn a new skill; be it dip pen and ink illustration, crochet, or even using an app to learn Welsh (dych chi eisiau mynd i’r dafarn?), it seems my brain is in constant need for some brand new information from time to time.
I’d been following Leather Needle Thread for a time on their beautiful Instagram account, and took the opportunity one sunny Friday morning to pop up to Cox & Baloney on the Cheltenham Road to satiate my brain’s nagging cravings for information and teach myself a new skill – making my own leather handbag in Leather Needle Thread’s ‘stitchless’ leathergoods workshop. Read More
Bristol is never one for doing things conventionally, and there is no exception when it comes to Christmas gifts. Having done something of a declutter recently, I’m being much more careful about what I’m buying other people for Christmas, and my ethos for festive shopping this year is buying as much as I can from local independents rather than handing my cash to the big guys.
Last weekend, I popped down to the Made in Bristol Gift Fair at Colston Hall to peruse the makes of local artists and traders, all whilst sipping on a hot chocolate and listening to some beautiful tunes being played in the foyer. Bliss! No shopping stress or queueing here.
The Made in Bristol Gift Fair is now in its 8th year, taking over the entire foyer of Colston Hall with makers and traders which change weekly in the run-up to Christmas. There’s something for everyone here, with homewares, handmade clothes for little’uns, stunning jewellery (my favourite was by Ceri Ellis), and soaps and skincare made in some very clever people’s kitchens.
I love the idea of an entirely independent Christmas – it helps to support people who are passionate about their craft, rather than lining the pockets of retail giants, plus you’re more likely to find something completely unique that will be more cherished than the usual stocking filler.
I don’t mean to panic anyone, but there’s only a few weeks left til the big day, so if you’re anything like me and haven’t started shopping yet, you’d better get your skates on!
This weekend is a Christmas market extravaganza in Bristol, and the Made in Bristol Gift Fair will be setting up shop on this Saturday 3rd December, and then the following weekend on Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th December at Colston Hall.
Find out more info on their Facebook page here. Happy shopping, folks!
I was invited by the Made in Bristol Gift Fair to preview the event in exchange for this review but all words and opinions are my own. You know me, I love Bristol, and I’ll do owt to help support local artists.
Y’all know I’m a sucker for a good pun. But a pun with a crafty message attached to it?! Now that is pure pun perfection, my friends. I’m here to tell you a little bit more about The White Stuff’s brilliant ‘Are You Thready?’ campaign, which could see you jetting off on a crafty adventure in Italy, no less! Read More
If there are two words which need to go side by side, it’s the words glitter and donut. I haven’t done much baking recently, mainly because my weekends and evenings have been choc-a-block, but last Sunday I decided to treat myself and indulge in making some proper sparkly treats!
I was very kindly sent some bits from Mein Cupcake to help me on my quest for sugary indulgence, which included this awesome donut pan(*), a cooling rack(*), edible glitter(*) (obvs), and some adorable doilies(*) to make everything look just that little bit more twee. This German baking emporium is a treasure trove packed with amazing baking supplies – absolutely everything you could imagine!
(Also – is it doughnut or donut? I’ll be calling them donut throughout this, so if you’re a fan of the alternative spelling, you’d better abandon ship at this point).
I can’t take credit for the recipe I used, I’m not that much of a cake magician. The following recipe was adapted from a recipe from this lovely blog:
To make 12 little donuts, you will need:
– 4 oz plain flour
– 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
– 3 oz caster sugar
– 1 tsp melted butter or vegetable oil
– 1 tsp baking powder
– 3 fl oz full fat milk
– 1 large free-range egg
– pinch salt
Oil your donut pan first with a drop or two of oil, and make sure they are well oiled – the first time around I had a bit of a donut fail, as they got stuck to the pan. Oil them well! Preheat your oven to 160 degrees C.
Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large bowl.
Meanwhile, whisk the egg with the milk, oil and vanilla extract in a jug.
Make a well in the middle of the flour and pour in the wet ingredients. Using a whisk, mix them together well.
Spoon the batter into the donut pan, filling about half way up.
[At this point I added a tablespoon of cocoa powder to half of the mix to make chocolate donuts. I’d recommend adding a dash more milk because it can be a bit dry otherwise]
Bake for 15 minutes. Once baked, leave in the pan to cool, then run a knife around to free them from the pan.
Cool on a wire rack and decorate. Then consume 🙂
Of course, no reputable donut would be complete without a generous coating of yet more sugar! This isn’t anything fancy – just plain old icing jazzed up with some pink food colouring.
… plus LOADS OF GLITTER!
This edible glitter is genius – it’s so tiny and sparkly, and it doesn’t taste gritty or anything when you eat it. It comes in loads of different colours, and I’m already plotting the biggest, glitziest birthday cake imaginable.
I can tell you that these did NOT last very long in our household. Thomas took a particular interest in the chocolate ones and had snaffled a couple even before I had a chance to take these pics. Also, how cute are these doilies?! I’m going to be presenting everything this summer on a doily.
This recipe made just the right amount for 12 diddly donuts, perfect for a little sweet treat with a cup of tea.
Why not rustle some up for tea this evening?
Hope you all have a lovely bank holiday weekend!
Craft, hooray! Since beginning this little humble blog I have since deviated slightly from my original vision of it purely being a craft blog, and have since included a whole heap of other things, including fashion, beauty, and my favourite Bristol bits. It’s nice to go back to your roots from time to time though (so to speak), and this post is all about a lovely crafty afternoon I attended, in association with Laura Ashley.
A couple of Sundays ago, I popped down to At Bristol to meet up with some fellow blogging lovelies for an afternoon of getting our craft on with Laura Ashley, run by The Crafty Hen. I didn’t quite know what to expect, but I was looking forward to seeing some familiar faces and having a creative Sunday afternoon.
After settling ourselves down and getting to know some of the less familiar faces (it was so nice meeting so many bloggers who I’ve been following for so long!) we got stuck in with our first task – covering and embellishing a notebook. I chose this beautiful leaf print fabric from Laura Ashley’s SS15 collection, and went a bit mad with the glue gun sticking a million buttons on.
After a spot of lunch and a cuppa, it was time for crafting round two – making some hair accessories with more beautiful Laura Ashley fabric. We learned how to make a suffolk puff, and I turned a couple into a hair clip, and also created a hideous pink bow monster after butchering some fabric scraps with the glue gun again.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get many pictures of the afternoon, as I was too busy chinwagging and crafting. I have pinched a couple from Laura Ashley’s brilliant blog from the afternoon; one of She and Hem and myself crafting away, and one of all the awesome bloggers and our finished creations!
Thank you so much to Laura Ashley for inviting me along for the afternoon, and the Crafty Hen for teaching me some new crafty tricks!
I’m always up for trying new things, me. When it comes to crafts, I’m forever filling my Pinterest board with ideas and interesting projects which I know I’ll sadly never complete, but a girl’s gotta dream, and that’s the whole point of Pinterest, right?
So when an email dropped into my inbox asking if I’d like to test out Hobbycraft’s range of Kirstie Allsopp craft kits, I jumped at the opportunity to flex my creative muscles. I was given a choice from the full range that they stock – everything from candle making, to pin cushion making to pyrography (!), but I opted for a craft which I’ve been longing to have a go at for ages, and never quite knew where to start – needle felting.
The kit is pretty brilliant. For the price (currently 25% off!) you get loads of bundles of fluffy coloured wool, felting needles, a felting tool and sponge mat. If I had one criticism, it would be that the instructions are a little sparse – it gives you basic instructions on how to make simple felt balls, but there’s little in the way of photos to show you what to do. Help was at hand though, in the form of YouTube, where there are a wealth of informative videos. I love you, internet. Even a simple Google search will throw up a handy video with what to do to get going.
All that needle felting is, it transpired, is fusing the fibres of the wool together by repeatedly stabbing it with your felting needle. After testing the water (and clumsily snapping my needle, those things are D-E-L-I-C-A-T-E) making a little ball like the pamphlet told me, I fancied making something a little more testing, and set about making one of my favourite cartoon penguins, Gunter from Adventure Time.
Now, he may not be perfect, but for a first attempt at a new craft I don’t think I’ve done badly. The trick is to keep going and keep going (stab stab stab), because the finished product needs to be really firm and fused together. I think I just stopped short of getting it right with this guy, but I know for next time.
I’m a little bit addicted to needle felting now! I made the mistake of Googling ‘Adventure Time Needle Felt’ and now I think Peppermint Butler might have to be my next creation.
Watch this space!
It was a bit windy on the harbour today. Me hat nearly blew off.
To celebrate the launch of the very festive themed new range of products (hooray!), the lovely folks at Turtle Mat set us crafty bloggers a challenge of creating an eye-catching Christmas jumper with a blank canvas and a budget of £5.
After much head scratching, and some Pinterest trawling, I settled on the idea of a polar bear, and so bought as much white fleece as I could with my little budget, and fashioned this curvy-looking chap on the front of the jumper supplied to me by Turtle Mat. After drawing a vague shape, cutting it out and badly sewing it to the front of my jumper I then took up my trusty embroidery floss to give this guy a nose, eyes, and fill in his teeny tiny little ears a bit.
I’ve never actually owned a Christmas jumper before (I KNOW!), so I’m pretty pleased that my very first one is something that I’ve fashioned myself. Me and my new pal David (Tom decided to call him David for some reason) went for a very blustery walk up and down the harbour this afternoon, and I had to hang on to my hat!
Do you like my creation? What would you do with a blank canvas and a fiver?!
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…
Seriously, everywhere I look there are Starbucks red cups, chunky knits, festive lights switch-ons, and a bitter foggy mist in the air. Christmas is only just over a month away (AAAAAAHHHH!) and if, like me, you haven’t started your Christmas shopping yet, then its time to raid those craft drawers, dig out those Sharpies, and get Christmas craftin’.
I’ve been compiling a list of easy-peasy festive DIYs that I know anyone would be happy to unwrap on Christmas morning. Not only do these save you pennies, it’s nice to give something handmade, plus you’re bound to have loads of fun making them.
1. Zip Pouch Tutorial
First up is this rather adorable looking ‘zipper pouch’ – super easy to make, with only a few supplies needed. Either fill with Christmas treats like chocolate coins, or make a mini travel kit with a face spray, lip balm, pocket mirror and hand gel. Find the instructions here.
2. Jumper Mittens
Utilise those old raggedy pullovers and turn them into jazzy mittens! Only takes a few minutes – you can knock up a pair for your whole family (even your cat?). Instructions can be found here.
3. Pom Pom Tassel Bookmarks
How cute are these?! If you can make a mean pom pom you can whip a couple of these up in no time. Get the tutorial here (ps – it’s in Finnish, but the pictures are more than enough to show you what to do).
4. Homemade Soap
I want to know how much the fancy soap shops make at Christmastime. Save yourself a packet by making your own – invest in a good quality base and add whatever you like. Here’s a nice recipe for grapefruit and poppy seed.
5. Notebook Tote Bag
So cute and clever! All it takes to turn a boring old tote bag into a portable notebook book bag are a couple of rolls of thread and a sewing machine. Get the instructions here.
6. Pocket hand warmers
It’s getting a bit nippy outside, so warm your mitts with these easy-peasy DIY hand warmers, using only material scraps and rice. Pop them in your jumper mittens for maximum toastiness! Instructions here.
7. Sharpie + Mug = ultimate DIY
Of course, if you’re looking for the ultimate in easy DIYs, then all you need is a plain mug and a sharpie. These bad boys have been all over Pinterest for a while now; make it festive by adding a personal message and tying up in some nice cellophane with some hot chocolate and a bag of mini marshmallows. Get the instructions here, with some useful tips here.
So there you go! Super easy tutorials for a DIY Christmas. Have you got any favourite winter projects? Let me know!
One of the main reasons for starting this blog was to kick-start me into being creative with my spare time. Whilst the blog has grown and I have met some truly wonderful bloggers, been to some amazing events, and been lucky enough to even work with some of my favourite brands, I can’t help lamenting the fact that I haven’t done much on the creative front.
So when a lovely lady contacted me on behalf of Direct Blinds to tell me about a competition they were running to find ‘the next Banksy‘, I jumped at the opportunity. Sure, Direct Blinds may not be the the first company which comes to mind to design for, but by jove to they sell some pretty fancy blinds. Plus it gave me the chance to actually do some drawing for once – a kick up the bum that I needed, if you will.
I was sent a fabulous box of paints and pencils to get cracking on my design, but being a bit of a shy artist and designer, I defaulted back to what I know – dip pen and ink. I utilised some beautiful new watercolour pencils, and began drawing what was in my head. I had a look at some of the Julie Dodsworth designs for inspiration, but to be honest, I was just drawing what came to mind.
I started off fairly simple and straightforward; teapots and tea time things for a kitchen blind (including authentic ink splodge), pansies for a fancy vintage-style bedroom blind (turns out pansies are quite difficult to draw), boats for a nautical themed bathroom blind, and pizza because… well, pizza. I’ve caught the drawing bug again, and would love suggestions as to what to draw next. I’m definitely still learning, too, so if you’re an illustrator and you have some tips/constructive criticism then let me know!
Having a look at the other entries on the Facebook page I’m certain I have no chance of winning! Nevertheless, I’m really grateful for this opportunity to pick up the pencils, paint and ink again. Who knows, you might be seeing more of my illustration on here in the future…
For more information on the Next Banksy Competition, head on over to the Direct Blinds website. Enter on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram using the tag #makemeadesigner. You’ve got just over a week to enter – the competition closes on 21st November. Good luck!
Calling all you crafty types, vintage coveters, knitting wizards and crochet dabblers – here we have a definitive list of upcoming craft, vintage and handmade events around the country during the festive period, sure to get your Christmas vibe on and discover some treasures to pop in your loved one’s stockings!
Even more exciting is the fact that this handy little guide was compiled with a little help from yours truly. Some of these events have sadly already passed, but there are loads of upcoming events to get stuck in to! Try and guess which ones I picked out…
A special shout out goes to the Speigeltent Christmas Market, it’s my absolute favourite to go and visit every year, and it will be returning to the Harbourside this year on 28th November. It’s guaranteed to get you in the festive spirit, and I blogged all about it last year.
Which Christmassy craft events have you got lined up for this year?
Last weekend, myself and the boy travelled back to my home town of Cheltenham to attend a very special wedding. Special, not just for the lovely bride and groom involved, but this wedding had a very specific theme, and that theme was steampunk. Steampunk is a blend of all things Victorian and industrial with a little sprinkling of sci-fi. Think Alan Moore’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Martin Scorcese’s ‘Hugo’, and everyone’s favourite box office flop ‘Van Helsing’, and you’re just about there.
I’d got my dress sorted a few weeks before (£20 eBay bargain) but needed something to make my outfit more authentic, leaning more towards steampunk and less towards ‘generic Victorian schoolmistress’. There were five of us in total going as a group, so we popped round my friend Jude’s house and pooled our creative ideas into creating some steampunk-inspired accessories.
A few weeks prior to this, I received an email from a company called Sugru, asking if I would like to try some of what they make for some up and coming crafty projects I may have up my sleeve. I was intrigued, and hot-footed it over to their website to find out what they’re all about. Turns out, they make this magical putty self-setting rubber stuff, with about a billion-and-one different uses.
Naturally, I was pretty excited when it popped through my door. They sent me two multi packs, with little individually wrapped parcels of Sugru in various colours, just waiting for whatever creative uses I may have for it. My initial idea was to mould it into some cookie stamps, but on further inspection, Sugru isn’t food safe just yet, so decided to give that project a miss (another time, maybe!).
I was rather stumped as to how I could create something wonderful using this magic ingredient. Sure, I could mould some onto my pan handles and make them heat-resistant, but that wouldn’t really make for a great blog post. So when Jude suggested steampunk crafting evening, I knew this would be the perfect excuse to see how this bad boy works in a crafty situation.
Cogs play an integral role in steampunk attire. It’s one of those things which is synonymous with the whole ‘steampunk’ culture, as well as brown leather, goggles, and elaborate-looking weapons. We had a table full of watch cogs (so tinyyy), brooch backings, and a whole pile of Sugru. It was time to get our craft on.
The colours I received in my taster pack were red, yellow, blue, black and white. Don’t let this limit you though, as you can blend Sugru into whatever colour your heart desires, and there’s even a handy little guide on the pack to help you out. I took 60% yellow, 30% red, and 10% black, and began smushing until I had reached a very steampunk brown colour. One thing to note – Sugru is quite tacky, so I would remove any jewellery you may have on before starting. The best way to clean your hands after using it is to wipe it off with kitchen roll. I haven’t tried washing my hands after, but don’t forget to wash them before you begin!
As soon as I started, I found it pretty difficult to stop. Soon, I had made two brooches, a couple of hair clips, and even a pair of little cog earrings! It was so easy to make them – all I did was squish a blob of Sugru onto my backing (earring, clip, pin, whatever) and begin spiking some cogs into it. The texture is quite soft to begin with, but it starts firming up the longer you leave it, unless you give it a bit of a smush to loosen it up a little. These took 24 hours to ‘cure’ and harden, so I left them in a safe place until they were ready to wear.
As you can see, the back isn’t the prettiest thing to look at, but demonstrates how you simply press it into the Sugru, and secure it a bit by coaxing some of the putty over the sides. When it had hardened, everything stayed in place brilliantly, there were no broken bits all day (except when I dropped one of my earrings and accidentally trod on it 🙁 wahhh).
The possibilies with Sugru really are limitless. Not only can you use it for crafting cosplay accessories, but it has 101 uses around the home – fixing cables, protecting your phone from bumps, even mending broken bits on your car! A pack like mine costs £12.99, and I still have a whole bunch left, just waiting for my next project.
What would you craft out of Sugru?