Friday, 28 June 2013

Something for the weekend!

For so many city dwellers outside space comes at a premium and lots of them are like me... without a garden!
Being surrounded by grey, brick and mortar structures can take a lot out of a gal so finding softness and comfort is something I tend to look for inside the home through the use of soft furnishings and home wares but also in living things like plants.


BUT because of the very small issue of not having a garden - plus my window boxes have been transformed into Kitty lawns- I've been looking at alternatives. Planting has come a long way since the days of hanging baskets and people are getting more and more creative by
using large glass cloches, glass bowls or pretty ceramic bowls to create mini masterpieces.
This is something which I find pleasing and absolutely inspiring!


Think outside the window box and plant something that will give you lots of joy but will also feed the senses. Use plants and flowers which don't just look good but smell and feel good too.
Don't tell me you've never passed a "money tree" plant without giving the leaves a gentle squeeze? It's pure pleasure and in a way it connects me with nature. It's true! However small the gesture may seem it really does!
I love the idea of having small indoor gardens in a container... a bit like dioramas. I was obsessed with these as a child and had boxes under my bed filled with scenarios usually of forests and nature landscapes... and taking a cue from that memory... I absolutely adore the little colourful cacti pictured below, nestled together, all bunched up in a herd like they've found a turquoise oasis in the hot desert. It's such a simple idea but absolutely beautiful too! Hum, I think I may just have to make my own desert diorama...


Monday, 24 June 2013

The Amazings are coming to a screen near you!

There's a buzz around the Craft world at the moment and it's all about experienced people teaching the younger generation about making! It goes by the name The Amazings?  Have you heard about it? No?! OK so you've either been on a long holiday or living completely off grid because The Amazings are the hottest topic around at the moment!!! We'll forgive you for it because we know how quick information moves and just how darn hard it is keeping up with everything! But we'll tell you all about it...

Through out time elders have passed on skills to younger folk...

mosaic plant of the classes available to join!

So what are The Amazings?
The  Amazings  is  an  online  platform  where  retired  and  retiring  people  pass  on  craft skills through  classes and courses.
There  are  now  over  200  real  life  workshops  on  offer.
Demand  for  the  classes  has  far  outstripped  what  the  individual  Amazings  can  provide, so  in order  to  widen  the  availability  of  the  courses, they  will  now  be  available  through  a  digital platform.

Beauty is not just skin deep... learn to make it from the experts!
Knitting got you in a twist and granny doesn't live close enough to pop in to teach you? Fear not you can learn from an elder on line!

We love the concept behind this project and because we've been harping on about "Sharing your craft skills" for the past 5 years or so we're very happy to see it's something others are also aware of and striving to keep alive!
It's so important that we as a society pass on creativity because a society with out CRAFT is like a banjo with out strings!!! More and more people have become engaged with making as the modern world moves at a colossal rate people of all ages have found craft a therapeutic respite from the constant evolution in technology.

Jewellery making!

Learn from others and maybe one day you too can pass it on to the next generation!

So how do you get a piece of the action? Online classes will be offered in everything from knitting and sewing, to bookbinding and retro-hair dos. Courses consist of  2 hour video tutorials, commentary, teacher’s notes and you'll also be able to ask the teacher a question!
Once  enrolled, users will be able to watch  a class anywhere, anytime, and for as long as they like. That's the magic of the inter net and we think this offer is magic too!!! So no hurrying as you'll be able to watch and learn at your own pace and whenever you have time.

Fun and fab... make a dress from a shirt...

...just another brilliant workshop by the people at The Amazings!

So if you're after some creative classes here's a list of what will be available:
*Make Natural Beauty Products
*Three Retro Hair Dos
*Make a Mosaic Flower Pot
*Learn to Patchwork Quilt
*Try Altered Books
*Turn a man’s shirt into a summer dress
*Create a Silver Metal Clay Butterfly
*Loom knit a woolly hat

Altered Book...

And because we love to share the creativity The Amazings have offered an exclusive and brilliant treat for our blog readers... so if you'd like to book an online class visit and get your first class for free!
You'll need this code to access the freebie page, just sign in and follow the steps:

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Something for the weekend... Flow Magazine!

We first came across these lovely creative people through twitter and we think they should definitely be better know in the UK.
"Flow" is a Dutch based creative magazine which also manages to create and sell beautiful paper goods plus their blog/website is pretty darn good too!
So what makes Flow different from all the others?

The latest cover of Flow...available to buy via their website:

Stamps available to buy and other paper goods like diaries and wrapping paper!

There are so many Craft mags out there at the moment but what is seriously lacking is a publication which stands out both in the design stakes and the content.
After a huge dry spell of "good looking" UK craft magazines our market is now flooded with a hundred and one "Molly Makes" look-a-likes.
I do Like Molly's, don't get me wrong, but now other magazines are emulating too closely so it kind of loses it's sparkle as everything out there becomes very samey.

I often think that the majority of craft magazines are very one dimensional. OK so it's a craft mag, so shouldn't it be all about CRAFT making? Yes and no. I love the projects and the d.i.y. content but I also don't see the point of a magazine packed solely with projects you can easily find on Pinterest and an endless showcasing of work spaces. 
OK not everyone is a natural born crafter so I understand why all the projects but how many of these magazines can a market sustain?

Not just a note book...but a beautiful ideas note book!

What Flow manages to do is offer a magazine which is bright, inspiring and inviting without making you feel like all the people featured in the inside pages are living a dream while you fester in reality... a bit like being tormented by a fantastical cake shop which never opens though you have the munchies like no body's business so you're left tapping on the window, wishing it was you on the other side of the double glazing stuffing your face with sweet fluffy cake and not just left out in the cold looking in!

So why all the love? Flow does tap into the hand made zeitgeist yet it's done in an original way. Though it features projects, recipes, freebies and even life mantras it's definitely a marriage of the creative and the philosophical world.
You'd be forgiven for thinking that an article titled "Life is about finding the balance" would be all about offering advise on how to run a designer maker business while balancing a home life but far from it. It taps into a shared aspect -humanity- and it offers content which is open to all and not just to people working within the creative industry. That my friends is awesome... there isn't one mention of craft but it's all about living a better life as a human being and we can all relate to that!

©flow magazine blog
I do like our UK magazines but sometimes I wish they would just "be themselves" rather then try too hard to be a copy of someone else.
Though Flow does subscribe to a certain aesthetic it still comes across as fresh! With a sub heading of: Simplify your life - feel connected - live mindfully- spoil yourself... It's not surprising there is such a huge worldwide following.

This is what they say about their magazine... Flow is a magazine for women who are looking for more peace and quiet in their busy lives. Flow offers inspiration, insights and solutions. Authentic, made with love, a magazine with lots of extras. Each issue has four parts: 1. FEEL CONNECTED: about family, relationships, friends, but also about the world around you. 2. SPOIL YOURSELF: indulge yourself with pretty and fun products. 3. LIVE MINDFULLY: living with awareness, attention for the now, mindfulness and psyche. 4. SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE: practical solutions to make life easier, even inside your head

Got an iPad? Get your Flow app here:

We hope Flow manages to keep going in this fast paced multi media world, though I'm sure they will, and if anything we hope we've managed to turn you on to something a little bit different and exciting... so go on if you have some time this weekend go check out their blog... it's definitely worth a few hours of your time!

If you'd like to subscribe to Flow please go to their website:

Monday, 10 June 2013

Ahoy! Yard Sale in East Ham E6!

Are you at a loose end this weekend?

Then let me invite you down to the Red Door Studios biggest ever Yard Sale!

From the creators of the successful 'Homemaker Pop-up Sale' comes THE YARD SALE on the 14th to 16th of June, for a bohemian collection of pre-loved items – ready to take home for cheap as chips prices! They have a jumble of retro, new and used items for your to re-love and re-cycle. 

Hours of the sale are:

Friday 14th June: 7pm to 10pm
Saturday 15th June: 10am to 4pm
Sunday 16th June: 10am to 4pm

Red Door are located in East Ham, just off High Street South on Masterman Road, the address is:
Rear of 120 High Street South,
East Ham, London
E6 3RW

For those anxious 'early birds' there is a pre-view sale on the Friday evening from 7pm to 10pm where you can browse and buy with a glass of wine in hand, entrance fee for the evening event is £1.00

The Creative Director of Red Door Studios has lived in the UK for 14 years and has collected a lot of stuff so before her shipping containers leave for North America, she is offering bargain hunters a chance to re-claim many collected British items including;  
1950’s retro furniture, architectural salvage, sewing and haberdashery supplies, fabric ... and millions of buttons!

The Red Door Cafe will be open with garden treats from the local gardening project 'Grow together, Be Together... Eat Together'.

Proceeds of the sale will go towards renovations at the Studio as well as go to the East Ham Air Cadets Squadron and 'Grow together, Be Together' gardening project in East Ham. 

For inspiration do take a gander at my blog post Yard Sale Bohemia I'll hope to see many East End locals at the Studio over the weekend!

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

The Hand Stitched Home...

The Hand Stitched Home is the new book by self taught embroidery artist Caroline Zoob. It's filled  cover to cover with amazing and beautiful projects that wouldn't look out of place in a petite maison Française
If you're thinking this book is just for the seasoned embroiderer think again! What Caroline manages to do is offer beautiful projects which can be finished by anyone and not just the accomplished sewers.
Easy, step by step and beautifully photographed projects which will get you making.
I for one can't wait to get my hands busy... there are at least two projects that I'll be trying this summer and I'm in the process of  starting on some shelving edging for my mum's new kitchen!

A page from the book... lovely shelving embroidery edging... might have to make this!

I absolutely love the way you're taken on a journey as Caroline explains the origins and the inspirations about her work and it's far from twee but it definitely touches on the naive and the "French Country" look. Also I'm so please to read that Caroline herself a former opera singer and solicitor came into embroidery in her late 30's so definitely it's something which everyone regardless of age can pick up and master. What an incredible woman and what a brilliant story!

Lovely embroidered towels, cloths and table runners...

I also love the way it reminds me and transports me back to my Granny's holiday cottage in "Pedorido"- a very small village near Porto, in the Douro Valley between hills and terraced vineyards... and if it brings back fond memories then that surely can't be a bad thing!

Granny Maria Adelaide with my daddy in "Pedorido" circa 1946

It's the perfect book for finding guidance and for rekindling your creative love affair with vintage fabrics, patterns, the art of embroidery and getting some needed inspiration. Reworking vintage patterns into usable modern and eclectic home wares is something I absolutely enjoy and know lots of crafters do too so if you think this sounds like a good book for you then take a look at our special offer because the lovely people at Jacqui Small have a special promotion code which entitles you to a discount if you order through us.
Due to be released this summer but available to pre-order now... just read the instructions below....

To order The Hand-Stitched Home at the discounted price of £16.00 including p&p*, telephone 01903 828503 and quote offer code JS217. Or send a cheque made payable to: Littlehampton Book Services Mail Order Department, Littlehampton Book Services, PO Box 4264, Worthing, West Sussex BN13 3TG. Please quote the offer code JS217 and include your name and address details. *UK ONLY - Please add £2.50 if ordering from overseas.