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29 June 2014

What do you love about making, creating and crafting?

On my cycle ride home from work, I regularly pass a little bungalow where, in one of the front rooms, is a table, close up to the window. On the table is a sewing machine, which I often see a lady sat in front of, sewing what I guess is her latest project. She’s not there every day. On those days maybe she’s off fabric shopping or maybe she’s facing up to those boring jobs we all have to do – if only those jobs would magically disappear, so that we could sew, make and create all day and all night! When she is there, she has that expression all you makers and creators will know all too well. It’s a mixture of serenely focused concentration, happiness and that thrilling buzz you get when making. I love seeing that feeling on her face because I recognise the emotion. It makes me feel like I’m part of a special gang, who only knows that look if you’re a maker, creator and crafter yourself.

The other day, as I cycled passed and saw the solitary sewing machine without it’s maker, it got me wondering what it is about making that is so exhilarating. So, I thought I would try and put down in words what it is about making that I love so much, with the hope that you too, will feel inspired to write in the comments below what it is about making that you love so much.

So, here goes!

1.       I love that buzz you get from first coming up with an idea, then watching the idea grow as you make it with your own hands

2.       I love learning new tips and tricks. It’s like finding a magic key to a fun short cut.

3.       I love seeing people craft in public, especially knitters and I love crafting in public myself, it gives me a real buzz, as though I shouldn’t be doing it.

4.       I love giving gifts that I’ve made, knowing that it’s a completely unique present.

5.       I love seeing and admiring something I’ve made. Seeing a cushion cover I created is way more thrilling than a shop bought one.

6.       I love it when someone compliments you and asks where you got that dress from and you get to reply that you made it!! This is pretty rare in my case, seeing as I’m still learning the art of dress making but the first time it happened, I was wearing the material I bought that day at the local fabric shop. I was so eager to test drive the dress, I wore it to the pub and a lovely lady, came up to me at the end of the night and said she’d been looking at my dress all night and would I mind telling her where I got it from. I nearly fainted!

7.       I love how there are no rules. You can make whatever you like. Combine any colour combinations or fabrics and generally have LOADS of fun experimenting.

8.       I love seeing old projects, which went wrong. It makes me realise how much I’ve learnt and continue to do so.

9.       I love that feeling when you simply can’t stop making. That feeling of “surely, I don’t need to go bed, I could just work through the night?!” I have certainly been known to work on projects well into the small hours, as well as knitting in bed.

10.   I love the whole making and creating online world of blogging, Instagram, twitter etc. It’s simply A.MA.ZING! Since I've started blogging, I've met so many awesome, creative people, who are so inspiring. Being part of that online crafting world is something pretty special.

What is it about making, creating and crafting that you love so much?

27 June 2014

Last day working full time on the day job

Today I finish my last week working full time on my day job as a Librarian. On Monday 30th June, I will officially be a part time Librarian in order to allow me to focus more time on Adventures and Tea Parties. Having worked in libraries for over 10 years, 3 years of which was spent training and studying for my librarian qualification, it wasn’t a decision I took lightly.
The past year and half has been crazy. In November 2013 my Not On The High Street shop opened just as I decided to quit my job and relocate to Leicester for a less frantic life and to be closer to my parents in Derbyshire. Days after finding a house in Leicester to rent, my Dad suddenly passed away. It was and still is the most horrific thing that has ever happened.
While making funeral arrangements and trying to cope with the horrific shock and loss, orders started to come in through Not On The High Street. I don’t know how or why I did it but I managed to send out what little stock I had, as well as sorting my imminent move to Leicester. Realising what I should have done all along, I closed my shop. I didn’t think I would ever open it again.
A month later I moved to Leicester and it was a complete rollercoaster. I got a job; I was suddenly driving again after 10 years (insert lots of frustrating moments of swearing and crying and thinking how much I hated driving!); my brother met and married the most wonderful sister-in-law I girl could ask for and with everything else I was dealing with and in a complete moment of madness, I re-opened my Not On The High Street shop. Much to my surprise orders started to come in.
Since then, the orders, my business and brand has started to grow. From September 2014 it mushroomed and I’ve been finding myself coming home from the day job, scoffing down some food and making orders. In between all of that, I’ve been trying to build my blog and online presence and generally do all those things a little independent, handmade business needs to do and wowza, there's ALOT of stuff you need to do! On top of this I bought my first ever home and it needs some love, so Saturdays have been pretty much dedicated to to it. That has meant no days off, no free evenings, no spare time full stop.
After Christmas it really hit me… this was too much and something had to change. After many a late night talk considering my options, regularly getting the calculator out, I realised that I had no choice but to go part time on the day job and so I asked my boss. I didn’t think anything would come of it, just like I thought nothing would come of my Not On The High Street shop but it did, work said yes.
So, on  Monday, I will be waking up and instead of packing up my bag to go to work, I will be taking my morning cup of tea up to my studio and working on Adventures and Tea Parties. 
I’m excited. I’m scared. And I can’t ruddy wait!

25 June 2014

Review and Tutorial: Card Bunting

When Eccentric Fox got in touch asking if I would like to test drive some of their products, I jumped at the chance! They have some awesome products, including these cute Cat Coat Hangers, which I have totally got my eye on! 

After my emphatic YES, a parcel of Eccentrix Fox goodness quickly arrived in the post, all beautiful wrapped up and ready for me to tear open! Two of the products (I'll be sharing the other one with you next week - you can't have too much goodness all at once can you? ;-) ), were a pack of 60 gorgeous pieces of card bunting and 30 meters of yummy coloured twine.

All of these bright colours were totally calling out a super easy and fun bunting craft tutorial! You can never have enough bunting right?! And these pieces of bunting, some of them with their cute scalloped edges, only measure approximately an inch max, so they don't take up much room :-)

Soooooo, all you need is:

Pin (or you can just use you needle)
Card bunting
Rubber cutting mat to protect your table

Step 1: Lay all your pieces of bunting out and decide which order you would like your bunting to hang in. I alternated mine with size and then repeated the pattern I'd created.

Step 2: Take your pin or needle and push a hole in the top corner, about a 0.5cm in from the edge. Remember to keep your cutting mat underneath. Keeping the pin in the card, give it a good wiggle to stretch the hole, so that it is big enough for your needle to go through later. Check that your needle can go through. If it can't, push some smaller holes around the first hole in order to create a bigger hole.

Now repeat for the other top corner.

Step 3: Thread your needle with the twine but don't cut the twine! Thread the bunting on to your twine. If you don't want to see the twine at the top of the piece of card bunting, go in from front to back and out the other side. If you do want to see the twine, reverse this and go in from back to front. I chose to alternate this throughout. Keep threading on your bunting until you have as many as you like! 

When you've threaded all your bunting on, space the bunting out as desired, leaving a long enough tail of twine at either end, so that you have enough to hang it up with. Now you can cut the twine, hang your bunting up and ta-da you're finished!

I hope you liked this little crafty tutorial! Do send me your bunting pics as I'd love to see them!

Happy crafting!


Disclosure: I reviewed this independently and wasn't sponsored to write this post.

23 June 2014

Review: Flocon de neige tea by The Kettle Shed

This is the last in my series reviewing four types of The Kettle Shed tea and this week I'm supping on Flocon de Neige!

After seeing the above pic if you are now wondering if that is just a flower in a cup. Well, actually yes, it is a flower in a cup and actually, it is a tea and isn't it just beautiful!!!

I couldn't quite believe it, when this little plastic wrapped bud of tea leaves literally blossomed into a flower.

To brew the tea, I simply popped it in my little ol' tea pot, poured boiling water on top, and left it for 10 minutes before carefully placing it in my Granny's china cup. I then slowly poured the fragant smelling, golden tea over the top of the flower and voila, this is how it looked. Isn't it so pretty! I've truly never seen anything like it!

And ooh the taste! It had slight sweet, citrus notes and the vague hint of green tea. It was delicious and the flavours would balance nicely with some cake, maybe a fruit loaf.

After cooing over it, I decided this would be perfect for a tea, cake and craft party with the girls or even for a birthday party or hen do. The floral tea is way too pretty and special to be drunk every day; it needs to be given a little limelight. Trust me, when you brew it, you won't want to throw it away and yes, I kept this flower in the cup all day to admire it. Now, I don't know another tea that would live up to that!

Thank you, Zoe at the Kettle Shed for supplying me with such beautiful tea. You made one tea snob very happy!


Disclosure: I reviewed this independently and wasn't sponsored to write this post.

20 June 2014

What's on the jukebox, Jo?

Hola and happy Friday everyone!
Here's a little tune to get everyone in the mood for the weekend! I absolutely LOVE it and can easily listen to it on repeat!
What's on your jukebox at the moment? 

19 June 2014

Shop sale! 20% off!

Don't forget my Not On The High Street shop sale! 20% off all these selected items!

They're all handmade and come gift wrapped!!

Head over to my shop to pick up a handmade bargain!

Happy shopping!

17 June 2014

Review: White Tea By The Kettle Shed

Hello! It's time for the 3rd part of my 4 part series, reviewing tea samples from the Kettle Shed and this week it's all about White Tea.

I have to confess, when I saw this cute heart shaped tin, full of white tea leaves, I actually squealed with delight! Not only is the tin suuuuuuper cute but I LOVE white tea! I first tasted it yonks ago, when I went for a tea and sandwich party with friends, so I was delighted to try it again.

On the back of the tin were instructions on how to brew the tea - the temperature, the amount needed and how long it should be brewed for. As a total fuss pot when it comes to leaving my tea to brew properly, I love this detail. It's essential for all tea and it cannot be truer that teas need to brewed for different lengths of time in order to fully appreciate the taste.

After cooing over this detail, I was soon oohing and ahhing over the gorgeous Egg Tea Infuser. It's perfect for making a cup of tea, with fresh tea leaves and just look at all the other Kettle Shed infusers! I want them all!

After infusing the white tea leaves for 3 minutes, I poured out this light, delicate looking tea into one of my Granny's china tea cups and the taste was simply wonderful. It's a very gentle, sweet taste and totally sooths the soul. One for those calm, quiet moments, when all you want to do is sit, drink tea and watch the butterflies dance over the garden. Bliss.


Disclosure: I reviewed this independently and wasn't sponsored to write this post.

16 June 2014

Online shops open and it's sale time!

I'm back from holidaying in Brighton and my online shops are now open again! Not only that but selected items in my Not On The High Street shop have 20% off! My Etsy shop now also stocks my latest handmade, fabric necklaces. Head over to snap one up!

5 June 2014

Quick Tutorial: Dried Chilli Display

This tutorial comes with a warning: the prep part takes ages but the making part is so unbelievably easy!

All you need is a bunch of chillies. Now instead of making your speciality chilli con carne, don't do anything with them, except to pop them in a dry place. For example, we leave ours with our garlic, which sits in a little wooden bowl in the pantry.

Now here comes the boring bit: walk away, forget about them and come back to them in a couple of months. Yup, after a couple of months they will have dried out and should look like this.

They will keep for long time, so don't worry about an exact time to take them out the pantry/cupboard/garlic bowel. Just keep an eye on them, then when they start to dry (and you've got a handful of them), group them together and wind some twine/string/embroidery thread around the tops of the chillies, leaving a long trail to hang them up with.

Ta da, you have a bunch of awesome looking dried chillies (just like they do in restaurants!), ready to hang up! And that's it! Told you it was easy. The only tough bit is waiting for them to dry out.

I hope you like this quick yet long tutorial. Check out my other tutorials, which include some great makes by guest bloggers! 

***Shop update: my online shops will be closed from the 4th June and will re-open on the 15th June.***

4 June 2014

Shop closed from 4th-14th June

Hi folks!

Just a quick update to let you know that both of my online shops will be closed from 2pm on the 4th June and will re-open again on Sunday 15th June. I will also have limited access to emails from Saturday 7th June until the 15th.

3 June 2014

Review: Speedy Stamps

Recently, the folks over at Speedy Stamps got in touch to ask if I would like to test drive one of their custom made stamps. What with my recent re-brand, I jumped at the chance to see how 'Adventures & Tea Parties' and my tag line would look. So, after replying with a big, YES PLEASE, THANK YOU! I sent them this image to make into a stamp:

Within a matter of days, my custom made stamp arrived in the post.

Boy oh boy was I instantly impressed!!! It looked just like the image I sent over....and I hadn't even inked it up yet!

Having been offered a black, blue, red, green or violet ink to go with, I decided on black as I thought that might look more classy on paper and parcels.  The ink pad is a generous size, so I reckon I could get lots of stamping out of this!

After pressing the stamp on to the ink pad, I just had to see what it looked like before the ink hit the paper. Doesn't it look awesome!

I pressed the stamp firmly into the ink pad once, then stamped it on to white paper, producing the top left image. Without re-inking the stamp, I produced the bottom right image. I love the top image and I also quite like the bottom image but if you're going for a clear stamped image, then one press in the ink is all you need.

As I'll mainly be stamping my shop order parcels, I decided to give it a go on a jiffy bag and voila, it came out a treat!

I'm super chuffed with my custom made stamp. Not only is the brand style of Adventures and Tea Parties crystal clear and exactly as it was originally designed but it works brilliantly on paper and parcels, which is great for my online shops!

I can't wait to start sending out my handmade accessories in parcels stamped with my shop name and I cannot recommend them enough! Thanks so much Speedy Stamps!


Disclosure: I reviewed this independently and wasn't sponsored to write this post.

1 June 2014

Blog Gem - Sallytangle

Hello June and hello Blog Gem time! 

This month I'm over the moon to be interviewing this rather awesome blogger. Her blog is simply wonderful - the writing, the photography, the style. Sallytangle was one of the first few blogs I started following on a regular basis. I was hooked from the beginning, always checking in to catch up on the beautiful words and stunning photography. So, if like me you're eager to know more, pop the kettle on, pull up a pew and we'll begin!

Hello there Sally! Who be the face behind the blog?
Hello! I am 29 and live in a little attic flat with my Mr, in a pretty little corner of Cumbria.  I adore to write and to be creative, which is exactly why Sallytangle was born.  I am also a huge lover of anything printed,  Lady Grey tea, and walnut whips.  And I love a good sky!
Where do you go to write?
I write in our spare room…which has sort of gradually evolved into my office.  It has a slanted ceiling and a very old victorian desk positioned directly beneath a big huge sky light.  It is the most beautiful and inspirational place to write as it's so beautifully light no matter what time of day I am hiding in there! When it's warm you can also open the skylight wide and watch the city rooftops and the pretty sky.  It's one of my favourite places to be!
If you had to pack only one suitcase to take to your place of choice to live, any where in the world,  what key things would be in your suitcase and where would you go?
Gosh! I think if I could choose to go anywhere, I would take myself off up into the Highlands of Scotland, by the coast, and stay in a little stone cabin in a pine forest, over looking the rolling hills.  I would take my camera, my softest pyjamas, a copy of Alices Adventures in Wonderland and a little hamper of treats: some Lady Grey tea, a little bottle of milk, some lavendar shortbread biscuits and some bread and jam.  
What inspires you to blog? 
My day to day life.  It sounds silly but just the little tiny things we can all miss in a world where everyone has earphones in, heads down.  I can be guilty of this too but Sallytangle is intended to be half online diary and half a place to photograph and remind myself of the beautiful little things on my own doorstep.  I sort of hope it encourages others to do the same. 
What top tips would you give to anyone starting a blog?
Just be you.  Write about and photograph whatever the bobbins you want! That is the best thing about blogging, you really can do whatever you want with that little space.  Don't try and be a carbon copy of everyone elses blog, find what makes you happy and write and fill your heart with exactly that.  If your hearts not in it it shows a mile.  
Is there a story behind the name 'Sally Tangle'?
Ha!  A little bit.  I have always read blogs, and I have always written too.  I decided to start a blog and tried so many names but couldn't think of one that fit.  Each time I typed my name, Sally Crangle, into Microsoft Office it auto-corrects it to Sally Tangle.  And so I went with it.  I have sent a fair amount of emails to people and signed them Sally Tangle when I have not intended to…a little bit embarrassing!
If you could go to a Creative Blog Award dinner with any 5 people or fictional characters (dead or alive), who would you choose? 
Gosh just FIVE?!?  That's a really tough one.  Lets see, Lewis Carroll, Willy Wonka, Celia Birtwell, Orla Kiely, and Peterpan. 
And finally...book and tea or film and wine?
I am going to be controversial and say, tea and magazine!  So I could drink lots of tea and cut up lots of things and make a beautiful moodboard.  That's my favourite thing to do.  I have to really be in the mood to read.  
Thank you so much, Sally! It's been an absolute pleasure hearing more about your world and what inspires you. I think that's the best advice about starting a blog - just be yourself. And wow, your writing space sounds fabulous - a very inspirational place to write.

I hope you've all enjoyed getting to know more about Sally's world. Stay tuned for next month's Blog Gem, which will be delving into the creative world of a fellow Etsy seller. I can't wait!

Until then, happy blogging!

All of the images and interview answers are the copyright of Sally at SallyTangle. Please do not use without seeking permission first. Thank you.


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