Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Chair Candy

Jeez Louise. It sure has been a while since I did any blogging. I'm going to go ahead and blame summer for taking me outdoors and away from my craft table. And also work. I think I will blame work as well.

So what sudden craftiness brings me back I hear to you ask. Well chair candy crafting is what. Or cushions if you will.

In December 2011 I was asked by my dear friend Emily if I would re-cover some cushions. I said I would be delighted and that they could be considered Christmas presents. And then I looked at them for 7 months and did absolutely nothing.

Part of the issue was genuine creative block. I had been given a sample of the wallpaper from the room where the cushions would live and I found it a real challenge to think beyond the colour and pattern. I also don't usually design pairs of things so that was a bit of a stumbling block as well. Months passed and the creative drought continued. I was beginning to get fed up of having them on my to do list.

Wallpaper sample
My saviour arrived one sunny weekend in the form of a crafty friend returned from Aus. After much nattering and a good slug of gin/ bubbly/ other cocktails and ran-sacking my material piles, the juices got finally got flowing.

After an afternoon of peg making and hedgerow fizz (bubbly with elderflower cordial) I started to sketch out ideas. Luckily I had a free house for a few days I was able to get stuck in without interruptions.

And here is the final result! Ta DA!

I wanted to get away from anything floral but still wanted a sort of nature theme. I also wanted a bold pattern. The rising sun seemed a perfect image for a bedroom and I fell in love with idea of having the motif work across both cushions. Emily is a fellow teal fanatic so I knew I couldn't go wrong using that colour and I used a silk that had a pattern not dissimilar to wood grain running through it (I could't get a good picture of this but trust me- it's lush). The math and measuring did my head in as I am usually very slap dash with my projects so I am particularly proud of these in that respect.

After such an uphill struggle with these I did promise myself to leave cushions alone for a bit but then I saw the Ohh Deer Pillow Fight competition posted on Facebook.

The idea of designing what went on the cushion rather than making it certainly appealed and I made good use of commuting times to ponder through ideas. Today I bravely posted my finished image on their website:

If you like it- please go to the webpage and 'like' or tweet about it. Deadline for entries is the 8th September so go on- have a go!

I hope to be less of a stranger to blogging and there have been some very different projects that I have been working on which can be revealed soon.

Till then xx

Thursday, 17 May 2012


Hello everyone! Just a little quickie today.
A while ago I mentioned that I was doing some logo design for Ange of Remedy. Well I can now reveal that the website has gone live so thought I would share the results and also spread the word about my friend's events.

And here they are!

web banner

Ange was keen to stay away from the typical 'earthy' colours associated with homeopathy and wanted the logo to convey a sense of community, discussion and moving forward. She described the aim of the group like this: " Evolving Homeopathic Thinking' is both the name of the 'group' and the name of the event. It is almost like a mission statement- we do what it says on the tin! The debate events will be challenging, controversial, constructive, passionate, critical without being opinionated or argumentative, encouraging, empowering, educational, brave, unafraid, modern and insightful." Phew!
I certainly hope my design goes some way in supporting their statement. (In case you were wondering the man is Samuel Hahnemann.)

You can see the logos in action here and here and also read all about the EHT events taking place.

I have to admit designing a logo was much harder than I thought it would be but I am pleased with the results and I hope the Evolving Homeopathic Thinkers are too. Best of luck with the events guys and thank you for letting me give logo design a bash!


Friday, 2 March 2012

One year on...

So Always Have a Plan B has been going a whole year! While my posting has been a tad sporadic it has been due to crafty projects and not a lack of motivation. It has been amazing how much my confidence has grown through showing my wares online and a lot of that is down to everyone who has supported me- so a HUGE thanks to you guys.

I love the fact that friends and family are commissioning things from me- from cushions and presents to wedding invitations and logo design- and I love doing them. While sometimes they might be a rather large stretch for my technical abilities they have been the best learning curves I could have asked for and I hope it continues into 2012 and beyond.

Enough emotional reflection for now. Instead here are some pieces I have been working on for the past few months.

It's not a birthday without bunting
And what better way to celebrate becoming 2 than with some personalised birthday bunting.

Yep still not bored of making pegs yet! I think I love making them for 2 reasons. 1) it is perfect for using tiny bits of fabric that I love too much to throw away and 2) it's such fun matching fabric to people. I might not show any more pictures of pegs on the blog but I think I will be making many more...
(sorry the picture isn't so hot)

Pin Boards
I made this pin board for my dear friend's 30th using one of my favourite bits of fabric and made some cute little button pins to match. I used a deeper canvas this time and I like the way it become free-standing this way. 

Wedding Invites
There was something spooky about the timing when I was asked to design Princess Glitter-kitten's wedding invites- it was almost like she knew I had just started an Adobe Illustrator course... I am really pleased  with the way they came out and can't wait for the Glitter-kitten nuptials in April. Here is a picture of the front- using my favourite LoveLetter typewriter font.

I wanted to find something spring-like but not too clichéd. I started off my searching through my photographs of images I'd taken in April and struck gold in the first album. This photograph was taken on the first camping trip of the season a few years ago- I can remember the moment so vividly and it is full of happiness- Slim and I had set up a hammock by a lake and were soaking up that amazing warmth you get with early spring days. In my mind this made it the perfect image to use for what will be another extremely happy and memorable day.

So what's next? Ange from Remedy has asked me to a design a logo for something she is setting up. Logo design something I have never done before but having just finished my course, in which logo design was covered, I feel ready for the challenge. Some spice jars have been requested and am I currently eating my way through pickles to get enough matching jars. I also have some cushions to make for my cousin Helen and friend Vicky after Helen dreamt that I said I would be delighted to make them... sneeky! The Brighton Bakers also have a a commission in the pipeline for some cushions for their recently decorated bedroom which sadly will involve some fabric shopping- what a drag! And I hope to start a patchwork project for Slim and I.  Busy Busy!

Thanks for reading and I hope you'll stick around for another year of crafty makes. Happy start of spring! x

Spring on campus

Thursday, 5 January 2012

2012- a craft odyssey

Happy New Year! I hope the start of 2012 has been good for you so far.

I started my 2012 craft  list last night and it looks like I'm going to be pretty busy. Still, what could be better than a crafty hibernation period until the sun comes out! Feeling really excited to start some new projects, like my friends wedding invitations, a patchwork quilt project and starting an Adobe Illustrator course, but before I start on them, here is a round up of my Christmas makes.


 Yep. More appliquéd coasters! But they're such fun to make.

I have been meaning to do some fabric covered pegs for yonks and I'm so pleased I did. I'm really chuffed with how they turned out and it is such a great way to use scraps of fabric. AND they were easy to do! All you need are some plain old wooden pegs, some card, fabric scraps and lots of glue.

Fabric Covered Pegs Instructions:
1. I measured the front of my peg and cut out a bit of card just a teeny bit smaller.
2. Then cut the fabric scrap so that will wrap around the cardboard- I had about 5mm extra round the edge.
3. Cover the bit of card with glue- I just used PVA but if I had any spray mount I would have used that- stick the fabric to it, wait for it to dry.
4. I trimmed the corners from the fabric so that it would wrap around the card neatly and lie flat and then glued the edges and waited for them to dry.
5. The last step is to glue the fabric covered card to the peg. Again I used PVA for this. Simples.


I also made some more of  fabric covered notebooks to go with the pegs using the same method as I did here.

I am really pleased with how these spice jars turned out- not complicated to make at all but I think they look quite classy. I painted the lids with some emulsion paint I had in the cupboard (yep- teal tension again), drew a designy-thing in black permanent pen around the edge and then painted a layer of PVA over it to give it some shine and protection. The labels are just ripped from brown paper and stuck on with PVA. Very much looking forward to eating some of the dishes Slim will make using them...

Slim's niece isn't quite old enough for super fun toys yet so I thought I would make her a keepsake for her first Christmas. Hopefully this celebratory Eleanor bunting will be something she will keep for years to come. And to make it extra special I have used material from her mum's maternity dress and her grandma's sewing box.

This last make was for my friend's birthday and it just wouldn't be a blog post from if it didn't feature at least one cushion. This one that has a pretty good story to go with it though. My dear friend Mazz's mum was given the fabric by her uncle who was in Malawi on a GCHQ mission in the 70's. Then when she moved house she found it and very, VERY kindly donated it to me knowing how much I would love the colours and patterns. It is truly stunning fabric and I have lots of other ideas planned for it.

I really love making things have that an interesting story, heritage, history or link  to them so if you have anything that you would like to turn into a keepsake or memento get in touch and I would love to work with you on it.

So that's Christmas all wrapped up for another and the countdown to spring can begin. Yippee x

Monday, 19 December 2011

It's been a long time, been a long time, been a long lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time.

Yes, it has! I am not in the habit of quoting The Zep but as I started to type this blog, 'Rock and Roll' came on the radio and it felt more than just a coincidence.

Just wanted to check in really to remind myself that I had a craft blog and shop that needs some attention...but I have good excuses! I have been crafting up a Christmas-storm of late- not for sale in the Folksy/Etsy shops- but for my nearest and dearest. As there are still 6 DAYS to go until the magical unwrapping day I can't share my makes just yet but here are some pieces I recently made which inspired the Christmas gifts.

I started working on this piece of appliqué on my first visit to the stitch n bitch club at work (think I might have set the bar a bit high now) and I used some of the techniques I learnt on the Make Lounge course. The background fabric is a piece of 60s kimono fabric and I used a dark blue felt for the bird. Once completed I turned it into a Happy New House card for our new Brighton Neighbours.They're still in Brighton so I guess they liked it!

Sticking to the kimono theme, I used another piece to make a coaster for my new lunch buddy. Cat is more than a little obsessed with purple so this fabric was just too perfect not to make her something from.

Last year I  managed to design and sell Christmas cards to raise money for Huntingdon's Disease. I was hoping to do the same this year but somehow I just ran out of time. Better make sure I am a bit more organised next year! Just to share with you here are the 5 designs I sold last year:

I hope you have managed to have some fun with the run up to Christmas- it just seems so easy to get caught up in the mayhem and forget that it's supposed to be fun! I look forward to sharing my Christmas makes with you next year. Till then a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! x

Monday, 24 October 2011

Have beautifully handmade journal, will travel

In a slightly hungover state last Sunday I pretended that my staring into space from the sofa was in fact me planning a crafty project for my dear friend Hazel's 30th/ going off travelling gift. It wasn't by the way. 

I knew I wanted to make her a travel journal to take on her year long adventure but as I am not a book binder was wasn't sure how to go about it. Would I staple or glue or sew? How many pages? Do I buy a notebook and decorate it? Do I just buy a nice notebook?

So with four evenings left to come up with a solution I stumbled on this sketch book tutorial by Susie Ghahremani of boygirlparty just in the nick of time. That night was spray-mount-tastic.

Fabric-covered Handmade Journal Tutorial

I am afraid I don't have step-by-step photo instructions as I was covered in spray mount. Susie does an excellent job though and I will describe in good old fashioned words the changes I made to my project.

Step 1:
Inspired by my library bear notebook from previous posts I decided to use different types of paper in the journal. It is roughly A6 in size and I used approx 9 bits of A5 paper, folded in half. The paper I used ranged from an old envelope with a pretty blue security pattern to green notepaper given to me by Hazel about 12 years ago.

I then tried to put it through the sewing machine. Not such a good idea.

Step 2:
A bit stumped I moved onto the front cover. I decided to use fabric covered cardboard for my cover so that it would survive a rucksack a bit better. I love this West African fabric. I am going to make a skirt from it soon but I couldn't resist making a little project from it any longer. 

From an old cereal box I cut a piece slightly bigger than A5 and folded it in half. I then cut my fabric with about an inch border all the way round and made sure I lined the pattern up with the crease (the back is a different colour as you will see...)

Step 3:
Next spray mount one side of the cardboard and tightly stick the fabric to it. Then spray mount the other side- round the edges and neatly fold over the rest of the fabric as tight as possible but allowing for the fold in the middle. This is a bit messy.  

Make sure you don't touch the two sides together...just saying.

Step 4:
BRAINWAVE. I finally worked out how I was going to put the thing together. I cut another piece of paper- this time from a map of London cos that's where she lives for now- just a bit smaller than the inside of the front cover. The plan (B or maybe D) was to sew the pages to this and then stick the map to the inside cover.

I lined the pages up with the map and using just a good old needle and thread, sewed down the fold and securely tied it off at the back. You might want to use a thimble. I do have a dent in my thumb now.

Step 5:
All you have to do now is spray mount inside the front cover and firmly place your sewn together pages to it. Simples.

Step 6:
I wanted to make a band to go round it so you could attach a pen or something. This is just from a bit of elastic I had in the sewing box, but the glorious button is from my grandmother's button box.

Inside cover
I like the way the torn-out notebook edges stick out a bit
Close up of button detail
So there you have it. One fabric-covered handmade journal.

Thanks again to Susie for your excellent tutorial and to spray mount for making this project possible.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

All that glitters

Those who were at my birthday BBQ when unicorn burgers were on the menu will know how exciting I find glitter. So when I found these great glitter textures for Photoshop it was a splendid day indeed. Thank you regular jane!

This card was made for my Cousin. The incredible 'Pugcocks' are made my Emily Valentine Bullock. I thoroughly recommend checking her work out. It is amazing.

Mazz's birthday card also featured glitter quite heavily as you can see. The Russian skull dolls embroidery was also made for her (I can let you into that secret now) and I framed it as part of her pressie.

I have also been putting my new found coaster making skills into practice. I made this for my friend Val's birthday. I do not in any way consider my obsession with the camping curtains unhealthy.  

And now that I have been invited to join a stitch'n'bitch club at work I plan to start some more appliqué and embroidery projects soon. Coasters could be in everyone's stockings this year... xx