Monthly Archives: September 2012

Mollie Makes – bonus autumn project!

It was a real treat to open my copy of Mollie Makes this month. Knowing my work is featured inside is incredibly exciting as I don’t know in advance how it will be photographed or how the pages will look. I did actually squeak when I found that I had the treat of having my leafy project featured on the first page too! Please let me know if you make any Liberty leaves, I’d love to hear how you get on.

As promised, I’ve got a little extra project for you. Rather than a single leaf shape, I thought it would be fun to make a whole sprig. This means you can mix fabric scraps to put autumn shades together. Help yourself to this free project with all the instructions and templates you need.

Free leaf project

I like the Mollie Makes idea of the leaves as bookmarks. I always love it when I’ve forgotten a flower or leaf I’ve pressed and come across it ages later in the pages of an old book. I have a few of the fabric leaves amongst the acorns and conkers I have in my current nature table display.

I’ve been reading the absolutely delicious new book, ‘Vintage Fowers’ by florist Vic Brotherson. It’s one of the most inspiring books I’ve read in ages. I love the way she collects old vases and containers and lets them inspire what she puts in them. I particularly admire the way she slips a silk or even ceramic flower among the real blooms in some of her displays. It’s like a little secret once you spot them. I was wondering if I could use fabric leaves in the same way. Haven’t quite figured out what would happen when the wire stems get soggy but I’m sure I can think of something.

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Liberty leaves in Mollie Makes!

It’s not often I find a hedgehog making a nest in my handiwork. I was thrilled when Mollie Makes asked me to make a little selection of autumn leaves for their cover and even more excited when I was asked to use these delicious Liberty fabrics. Nesting in the leaves is a hedgehog with a rather unusual pedigree – he’s been created by Katie Shelton of Skunkboy Creatures fame. You can find out how to make the leaves and hedgehog for yourself in the new issue of Mollie Makes, which goes on sale this Friday.

The lovely Mollie team have made the cutest animation too. Take a look here to see my Liberty leaves tumbling in the wind as the hedgehog pops out of his hiding place.

The leaves are very easy to make and are a fun way to use up little scraps. I had some leftovers from the project so I’ve made a little bonus project you might like to try. Pop back this weekend and I’ll have an autumn project and templates ready for you.

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A celebration with an uninvited guest

It’s a whole year since I started my blog. By way of celebration I thought it better to treat myself to some flowers rather than yet another slice of cake. It’s dahlia time again, so I got myself out early to the local farmer’s market where they always have the biggest bunches and wildest colour combinations. The stems dripped on my feet as I hastened home to put them in my favourite big cream jug.

I seem to have become much greedier over the past year. Take a look at this picture and you’ll see what I mean. Not only have I now got an outrageous number of stems stuffed into my vase, I also have a second mini display sharing the same occasional table. I’ve turned poacher and have been sneaking around the abandoned allotment next to my plot, the lure of nasturtiums run riot proving too tempting for me.

Pleased with the blazing colours lighting up the corner of the living room, I took a quick snap. I try to be casual when I arrange things but can’t help a bit of tweaking. I couldn’t figure out why one nasturtium flower was proving so droopy. Turned out it was because it was supporting the wait of an invited guest; a teeny tiny snail. Not my first choice for a house guest so I gently escorted him off the premises but sent him home with a lettuce leaf party bag.

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The Simple Things

I have a little rule that I don’t talk about work here. After all, this is about the makes and musings that give the best after-hours escapes. I’m very lucky that my work as a craft journalist overlaps with the things I love but on the whole I aim to keep the day job and the fabric stash separate.

I feel strangely shy about this but yes, I am about to break my rule to tell you about something I’ve been working on. (I am allowing myself a little leeway as it has been taking up what would have been my crafting time.) It’s a brand new magazine, The Simple Things.

What’s it about? Well, basically my perfect day – and I very much hope yours too. Start with a treat of a breakfast recipe, a gossip with friends, a trip to a specialist shop to choose the perfect cheese, home to use it in a delicious lunch recipe (even I couldn’t mess up), a fun look at wonderfully ordinary things nature is up to this month, an afternoon walk collecting apples, a nose around an interesting house and a glimpse into what it’s like to go to a seed swap. As evening comes there’s a whimsical look back (at ‘ghost signs’ this issue), supper with friends, a chance to settle down and try some crochet and even a bedtime story to round off the day. Admittedly, I would be a fairly packed day but there’s a whole month to try all these things before the next magazine shows up on the shelves.

If you’d like to see for yourself, it’s in shops now or here if you prefer to shop online. (There’s a taster here too). I would genuinely like to hear what you think about it. Don’t hold back! Love it or hate it, I’d very much value your comments.

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The prince of raspberries

This little fella kindly shared his raspberry-blowing prowess at our family lunch yesterday. (It wasn’t him, it was the toy lion apparently.) Later the same afternoon my lovely nephew Ben had become an old hand with the real thing. I took him for his first trip to my allotment and tried to explain what would happen in ‘Auntie Jenny’s garden’. Clearly an overgrown patch is no bar to a three-year-old’s imagination but he wasn’t completely on board with the whole idea until I helped him pick a raspberry from the abandoned plot next to mine. The taste of the newly-picked fruit and the promise of more had him disappearing into the canes. Still, he says he’ll bring his spade next time he comes. Good man.

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