Thursday, 27 June 2013

Ceramic painting - making holiday memories

This week my little family have taken a break from work and nursery and headed to Wiltshire for 5 days at a well known chain of adventure family holidays resort. We have various activities planned including football training for the under 3yr olds (hilarious!), toddlers meeting baby owls (super cute!) and ceramic painting which is what I wanted to share with you here.

All 3 of us chose a mug to paint, even hubby had a go, he's quite nifty with a paint brush where as I'm happier with a needle and thread, I can't unpick paint if/when I go wrong!

Mugs, we choise our colours, painted our designs then left them overnight to be glazed and baked in the kiln.

These will be treasured in my kitchen (hopefully) for a long time

A fun hour for all, think we will be visiting our local ceramic painting cafe for more fun soon.


Sunday, 23 June 2013

Is crafting the poor relation of the blogging world?

This weekend I didn't spend my Friday night with my husband watching a DVD. I didn't spend my Saturday doing a trolley dash around Sainsbury's. No, this weekend was different. It was the UK female blogging event of the year. It was Brit Mum's Live!


500 (mainly female but a couple if brave male) bloggers descended on London, and what a brilliant 2 day event it was. There were lots of brilliant sessions by a inspiring bloggers and social media experts, and I have a box full of business cards of the great people I met to look up and keep in touch with (smashing Susanna's target of 3 new people)

As well as the sessions giving tips on using various social media, and improve writing and photography there were also a few sessions about making money from your blog.

Make serious money from my blog?

This wasn't something I'd every really considered. I started this blog as a hobby to share my crafting and learn from others. Whilst like most people I'd love to make my hobby my career I'd never really considered that it would be possible. But there were fellow blogger stating the £££ they were making from sponsored posts and reviews, wow.

But who would be interested in my blog? A major craft retailer? Well, I contacted Hobbycraft a few months ago (I contacted twice to be exact) with a proposition which mixed blogging and IRL career experience, and they didn't even have the manners to respond (rude!). Then a few more ideas started to tumble into my mind. I scribbled madly on my note pad making a major do-to list feeling inspired and daydreaming about quitting the day job and spending my days making beautiful items to share with you lovely people.

I was lifted, content and excited at the possibilities

That same evening were the Brilliance in Blogging award (BiBs), 500 bloggers assembled in the main hall to praise those among us who are going above and beyond and truly inspiring the rest of us. As I sipped my rather yummy red wine (thanks for Asda for sponsoring) I browsed the categories, nominations and sponsors

Fresh Voice sponsored by due date club
Food Category sponsored by Vitamix
Inspire sponsored by Plum
Photo sponsored by Art Finder
and so on down to Craft

The Craft category was sponsored by ..... no one! 


No one?

Yep.... out of the 16 categories only 2 were left with no sponsor.... the Video and Craft categories.

I started I blogging about a subject which is worthless? do the companies I purchase resources from really think so little of my work that they wont sponsor this blogging category?

My mood dropped to confused, angry and frustrated

Is craft the poor relation of the blogging world?

Maybe my blank from Hobbycraft wasn't as personal as I had initially thought (although a non-reply is still just rude in my book!), maybe they just don't get blogging and what it can offer them??

I think the opportunities for a business in the craft blogging space are immense, and I have some seriously good ideas as to how the craft retailer / producer / distributor and blogging community can work together to mutual benefit.

Contact me if you'd like to buy me a coffee and chat about these 

There is most definitely an opportunity to drive traffic in both directions and ultimately drive business sales, I think that craft companies are just a little behind the curve, there has to be an advantage to stepping into the bloggersphere first, I wonder who will do it?

grumble over....

Aside from this I had an amazing time and I'm already booked in for next year's conference, although quite how the organizers can top Kirstie Allsop as the opening keynote speaker is a mystery to me.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

How does your garden grow? For #kidsgrowwild

As I've mentioned before I enjoy pottering in the garden, this summer im especially enjoying it as my son is old enough, at almost 3yrs, to help out. And its great seeingthe plants and bugs through his eyes. So, when BritMums contacted me and asked if I'd like a kids gardening kit I quickly replied "yes please"

#kidsgrowwild kit
The kit had everything a budding young gardener needed and my little man was especially pleased with his very own packs of seeds

"Shhh, Mummy listen, makes a noise" - vigorous shaking of packets
"Oops" - rips open pansy seeds over coffee table
"Look Mummy tiny seeds" - chubby little fingers pointing excitedly
Great - coffee table has grooves in it, some of those seeds are never coming out, will watch out for pansies sprouting soon, LOL
maybe I can start a new trend? Flowing tables?!
Anyway, we made it into the garden and started our work. Flowerbed received an initial attack, thankfully we'd planned to rip it all out which was quite exciting when you are 2yrs old. Lots of digging with shiny new green tools, lots of pulling up of plants with new glowes, uncovering bugs, and lots of things for the big pink garden bucket.

digging the garden
Checking on our micro veg patch we may be self sufficient (for part of one meal) soon peas and courgettes growing nicely
courgette flowers
We then got into the planting of seeds, which included a visit to the garden centre to select pots and compost.
Pots filled
Seeds planted
Very well watered (with shiny new watering can)
We sat back and waited.....
A week later the sprouting has begun, it's all very exciting
I'm a little concerned that my son's play house and pots in his "front garden" are tended too more carefully than the rest of the garden put together. But it's great to teach him about nature and growing our own food no matter how small.

We had a great time in the garden and my little man is loving have his own tools "just like Mummy's". Long may the summer last

I was sent the #kidsgrowwild kit free of charge, the words of this post are all my own. This post is an entry for BritMums’ #KidsGrowWild Challenge

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Cathedral Circle Quilt

We moved into our new home in July last year and have been (very slowly) redecorating the whole place, we're currently working on the spare room. It's going slow for a couple of reasons, one of which is I want to make as many items for the room as I can.

We have cream carpets throughout the house (choice of the previous owner! Not the most practical flooring with a toddler and a hubby who works outside) and I wanted to have a rug next to the bed to add a splash of colour to the floor.

I though it might be nice to have 2 different bedside rugs, same size, same fabrics but a different design. I saw a gorgeous play mat from Moda Bake Shop on Pinterest in the Cathedral Circle Quilt design, (follow the link for a tutorial into how to make a quilt in ths style) I loved it, immediately I knew one of the bedside quilts would be this design.

Cathedral Circles Quilt
Cathedral Circle Quilt

It was actually quite simple to make, although I did buy a circle rotary cutter, think this would be very difficult with scissors. It was quite a quick quilt design to make as the Cathedral quilt design is just circles with the edges folded over so you glimpse the backing.

Cathedral Circle Quilt

Always think the Cathedral Quilt design looks far more complex than it is

Unfortunately I haven't quit finished, I've decided it isn't big enough, so want to grow is by 2 more rows of 3. So will be doing a little more cutting and sewing before this makes an appearance in the guest room

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Reflecting on my Blogging

Hi, how are you doing there stranger? 

sorry its been a while. 

its been a strange couple of weeks. I really did enjoy the Cybher conference, learnt a lot which I think is possibly one of the reasons I haven't blogged for over a week....I think I learnt too much. I think I learnt too much about stuff that scared me.

Evidently this is what I need to do....

Social Media Butterfly

Evidently I need to be active on 
  • Google+ 
  • Facebook
  • Twitter 
  • Pinterest
  • and the blog 
at the same time but not with tailored updates.
wow that's a lot of updates 

Photo Editing on the laptop
I need to make sure I name all my photos correctly so that they can be searchable on Google Images.
but I use my ipad....I dont think I can do this 

And keep all the sizes consistent
well I do that already.....insert smug face!

Legal Stuff
I've been sent a few items recently to review and mention on my little blog. Its fun for me and obviously there is a benefit for the organisation in advertising, but the legal implications, wow!

Branding Branding Branding

Now I like to think I know a little about this. Not because I working in this area, but just because I am married to Mr Observant who notices when companies use different branding in different places and we both appreciate the need for a consistent corporate message.
But I have to be consistent across how many social media isnt as easy as you might think

Google Changes

And just when I thought my head couldn't take any more the concept of the Google Penguin update was raised.

Boom my head exploded

But how does this relate to my blog?
This is my little blog about crafting
I'm not looking to give up my banking career (which I like to believe I'm doing quite well at).
I just want to share my crafting and meet like minded people

I guess I've just been put off a little, I know there are many wonderful crafting and other subject bloggers out there, but I'm not sure I will ever be one of those (although I would REALLY love to be), I just don't have the time.

So I will attempt to learn about Penguin and am certainly getting a tad addicted to reading other blogs and learning how to blog I will embrace the changes gradually....the tortoise and the hare and all that

I should probably also share that I'm off to Brit Mums Live on Friday...very excited about meeting like minded people, have a great time, and learning more areas where I need to do better....mmmm

Friday, 7 June 2013

One lucky lady - Beautiful ATC arrived today

The ATC from my partner in the ATC swap arrived today. To say I'm thrilled is an understatement

I love it

Isn't it gorgeous...isn't it just perfect.


I'd seen this ATC in one of the picture preview blog posts and thought it was wonderful then, so I'm feeling incredibly lucky that it was for little me and I get to keep it. Liberty fabric and intricate stitching beautifully put together, I'm one happy lady today


It's from Catherine at Knotted Cotton. I've looked at her blog and she is a super clever lady quilting, stitching and taking amazing photos. I hadn't discovered her blog before but I will certainly be back.


Thank you Catherine





Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Posting my ATC

Its time to reveal the Artist Trading Card (ATC) I have blogged about before here

Its the first time I've taken part in a crafty swap, I've read about so many of them on other blogs but always been to late to take part and honestly a little scared too

what if I'm no good?
what if they don't like what I make?

When I saw this ATC swap on Very Berry Handmade's blog I manned up and signed up. It seemed so far away when I first signed up in April, but being a little nervous about the whole thing I started thinking about the design right away.

The finished article is really small - just 2.5" x 3.5" so I had to scale down my original ideas just to be more achievable. I wanted to try something new, and wanted to use a number of new skills so putting my novice machine embroidery to the test I made an outdoor camping scene, and also created some bunting out of shrink plastic.  

So here it is 

Fabric ATC, Fabric Artist Trading Card
ATC finished and ready to post

I've really enjoyed the process of sketching this out, creating and then posting this item for someone who I have never met (although I have read her blog). I really do hope she likes it, and I'm looking forward to a parcel dropping on my doorstep and sharing it with you.

I've enjoyed having a play at something new and wont be too worried about signing up immediately for another swap as soon as I see someone is running one. 

But I am now sat eagerly watching the letter box waiting for one to arrive for me...what a treat. 

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Gardening with a toddler

I would love to think that my son (2.5yrs) is going to develop a passion for needle craft just like his Mummy, but genetics are against me. Now, don't get me wrong, if he shows and interest I will take great pleasure in showing him how to use a sewing machine (afterall, I bet Tom Ford knows his way around a sewing machine) but I'm not holding my breadth.

So I've been thinking of ways other than painting and drawing we can develop his creative summer is here (well kind of in England) we have started gardening.

He's relished this opportunity - maybe a mixture of

  • something new
  • it's linked to Daddy's work
  • its a chance to get dirty

Whatever the reason we have a selection of veg and bedding plants which are receiving the delicate care that only a 2.5 year old can give. They are certainly well watered, but then again so am I when he has hold of the hose and gun like nose!

Who needs a shower when the toddler is in charge of plant watering?



We've planted peas, courgettes, tomatoes and cress seeds which are growing well.


Ok, well tomatoes less so, the may miraculously be replaced for established plants soon.


Lettuce is growing at an enormous rate on the kitchen window, we almost can't eat it quick enough.


A wholesome activity which also produces fresh, cheap food, everyone's a winner.

I'm looking forward to some yummy, fresh, zero food mile food this summer.


Are you growing anything with your little ones?