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30 September 2015

Time away from the desk

Taking time out from work and a routine is very important. It refreshes the body and mind. It reminds you that there's a whole world out there. It gives you back the spirit of adventure. It recharges the batteries and gives you an energy boost. It focuses the mind on what is actually important in your life.

I recently went on a much needed long weekend away to north Norfolk. It was heaven. The sun was out, the sky and sea were intensely blue and the fresh sea air blew many a cobweb away. It gave me such a boost that I thought I'd share some ideas with you for taking time out of a busy schedule or routine.

Short on time? / Go for a walk around the block; do 15 minutes of gardening; or book a night away to look forward to.

Change that routine / This can be as simple as preparing something different for lunch to changing jobs! Keeping it simple though, you could also try: going to a different exercise class; shopping at a different supermarket; listening to a different radio station; or switching the tv off and picking up a good book.

Spirit of adventure / Getting out and exploring is a surefire way to give you a boost. It needn't be expensive either. Making a picnic and heading out for a walk does the job nicely. On a small budget you could jump on a coach or train to a different county and explore the town and countryside for the day. With a bigger budget, booking a weekend away is a great way to change your routine. With lots of places to stay suiting all budgets, it's not difficult to find a lovely B&B or self-catered studio.

I hope this has given you some ideas for changing that routine and getting away from the desk. 

29 September 2015

Fun uses for embroidery threads

Head over to the fabulous new website, Simple Stylish Makes, and check out my latest blog post on fun uses for embroidery threads other than embroidering!

And don't forget to join in on Twitter too, with the hashtag #simplestylishmakes !

28 September 2015

Tutorial: Organise your herbs and spices

Want to organise your spices and herbs? Well, this is a very easy way - simply write the name of the herb/spice on to some colourful washi tape and stick on to your jars! When the jar's empty, peel off your washi tape and start again. The great thing with washi tape is that it doesn't leave a sticky residue on the glass afterwards.

To make it even more pleasing on the eye, you could also get yourself some lovely new glass jars and replace all those plastic supermarket ones in the cupboard or buy some lovely jam and re-use the jar afterwards. 

A very satisfying little project!

25 September 2015

What's on the jukebox, Jo?

Today I'm off to Heacham in Norfolk for a long weekend and a much needed getaway. I've made a mix CD, as I usually do for road trips. I always include a few old favourites and some new songs, which I can't stop listening to. I'm kick starting this mix CD with Danke Shoen because it makes me giggle and it's a great song for a Friday :-)

24 September 2015

Working with Simple Stylish Makes

I am completely over the moon to be working with the awesome team that is Simple Stylish Makes! Come find out about me and the team and have a read of our creative blog posts! And don't forget to follow on Twitter too! 

23 September 2015

Three Social Media Tips

tips social media

Pinterest / try and pin from the individual page, not the homepage of a website. This ensures you always link through to that particular post and image.

Twitter / you don't have to follow back everyone that follows you. Keep your Twitter stream full of those that you are genuinely interested in following.

Instagram / record a mini video and share! Simply click on the video option on your camera and record up to 15 seconds. Share in exactly the same way as a photo.

Missed my last social media tips? Catch up on them here

22 September 2015

Adventures in the garden: Mesembryanthemum

Mesembryanthemum have to be one of my favourite flowers. Not only are they the most brightest flowers, which can't fail to put a smile on your face but they also remind me of my Dad. He first introduced them to me, taking care to explain that "you must deadhead them in order to produce a regular supply of flowers". I was quite young at the time and remember going out to the garden, almost obsessively, to deadhead them, so that I could see more flowers each day. I loved the intensity of the colours and couldn't quite believe that they were real. They're rather like something a kid would draw and they just shout, POW!

21 September 2015

Three Quick Sewing Tips

Three quick sewing tips:

1. Before buying a sewing machine, try before you buy! I love Sew...Northampton for this reason. They let you play on any machines for as long as you like and they really listen to your buying specifications and don't do the hard sell on you.

2. When you've purchased your sewing machine, make sure you give it a regular MOT by taking it for a check-up at your local sewing shop. Again, Sew...Northampton do this for me. They even got my first, basic sewing machine working again :-)

3. If upgrading or replacing your sewing machine, read up on reviews first and ask those long time sewers their opinions. Twitter is great place for seeking advice.

Check out my sewing and haberdashery Pinterest boards and catch up on all my sewing tips here.

20 September 2015

Tutorial: Bead Bottle Necklace

Want to make this cute necklace? 

This is a super quick project and very satisfying as you can wear it straight away and don't have to wait for any glue to dry because there isn't any. Hurrah for quick, fun projects! 

Ok, so all you need to make this über cute necklace is:

-  Jewellery pliers - you can order these online or pick them up from your local haberdashery shop.
- Mini bottle - available on Etsy.
- Gold or silver chain - these come in a range of lengths and styles. Have a look on Ebay.
Jump ring - available on Ebay.

Step 1: fill your bottle up with beads. You could go for one colour or a lovely mix of pastels or neon colours. As this is such a quick project, experiment first to find the perfect colour combination for you and remember you can change the beads to go with different outfits!

Step 2: when you're happy with the colour combination pop the cork top on and open up the jump ring with your pliers. You only need to open it up enough to thread it through the little hook on the cork top. 

When you've thread the jump ring through, close the gap with your pliers so that it's securely attached.

Step 3: Feed your necklace chain through the jump ring and voilà, your necklace is ready to wear! 

18 September 2015

What's on the jukebox, Jo?

Been listening to some John Peel sessions this week. Boy is that man funny. Love the down-to-earth feel that his shows had. Very inspiring.

Also, had this Kurt Vile song, Pretty Pimpin, on repeat. It's a bitter-sweet song for me. Makes me want to skip and dance along but also well up with sadness at the same time. There's definitely an underlying sadness to it or maybe that's just me.

17 September 2015

Adventures in the garden: Tomatoes

Did you know the scientific name for the tomato, Lycopersicon lycopersicum, means, “wolf peach"? I rather like that!

And talking of tomatoes, I've tried my hand at growing them again, despite them failing last year and not producing any fruit whatsoever. 

I did a bit more reading up and from the little seeds I started back in May, I eventually popped them out into the ground and pots. In July they looked like this...

....to this in August....

...and towards the end of August they went crazy, like this!

There are plenty of tomatoes but they just don't seem to be turning red. I'm feeding and regularly watering them but maybe they just need more sunshine? If they don't show any signs of turning a glorious red colour, I'm going to try two things. Firstly, pop them in a brown paper bag and hope that they ripen. Apparently, this is suppose to work. Secondly, make green tomato chutney of which I'll be sure to share the recipe!

15 September 2015

Three Social Media Tips

tips social media

Twitter / See if others are mentioning your page by searching for your blog url or website.

Facebook / If you're getting a bit tired of seeing someone's hourly updates, simply unfollow them without unfriending them. Go to their profile page and select the drop-down menu under 'Following' and click on 'Unfollow'.

Instagram / Don't want to share your photos with the whole wide world? Simply change your account to private by clicking on 'Private Account' under account settings.

Missed my last social media tips? Catch up on them here

14 September 2015

Styling my home: craft studio inspiration

The times has come. I need a bigger craft studio. 

And so, with a bit of rearranging I've moved my studio from the little box room into the spare double bedroom. I now cannot see how I ever fitted all of my shop and craft supplies into that one little room. 

On moving everything it's become apparent that I need to re-design my workspace to make it more functional. I need better storage and shelving, so that I know where everything is and so that I can try and keep the space tidy. I also need good lighting / desk lamps for my close up embroidery work; a long desk, so that I can keep my sewing machine at one end and work-in-progress at the other without constantly moving them around and of course wall space to put all my pictures up, so that it's a pretty space to work in too!

With all this in mind I've been having a look around for some inspiration and filling up my Pinterest board. Here are some of my favourite finds so far.

Source: House to Home

Source: Apartment Therapy
Source: The Happy Zombie
Source: The Vintage Glitter House
Source: A Beautiful Mess

8 September 2015

Three Quick Sewing Tips

Three quick sewing tips:

1. Did you know you can use special glue to stop fabric fraying? There are loads of different brands out there. Just check out your local or online sewing shops.

2. Iron all your fabric before beginning a project.

3. If you're working on a particular chunky project, such as a quilt, use binder clips/bulldog clips to hold your fabric together before sewing around the edge.

Check out my sewing and haberdashery Pinterest boards and catch up on all my sewing tips here.

3 September 2015

What's on the jukebox, Jo?

I'm off to End of the Road festival tomorrow and boy I am excited! Due to this my jukebox has been filled with happy, party tunes and some of the bands who will be playing. I don't like to listen to too many bands in advance of going to the festival as I always like to be surprised by a group I've never heard of before.

Instead of sharing what I've been listening to this week, I thought I'd list my ultimate headline bands /artists for, you know, that day I get to manage a festival and choose my dream headliners, ha!

Rolling Stones

Tina Turner

The New Pornographers

Chemical Brothers

PJ Harvey

2 September 2015

Adventures in the garden: Ladybird

There are plenty of ladybirds around at the moment and this little one was well and truly exploring my runner bean plants the other day. I think perhaps it has a home there.


1 September 2015

Three Social Media Tips

tips social media

Twitter / Get involved in scheduled online chats, such as #handmadehour or #blogtacular. There are lots out there on your topic of interest.

Facebook / Did you know you can backdate a post on your Facebook page? Simply click on the drop down menu under 'Publish' when drafting your post and enter the date. Easy!

Instagram / Pick your hashtags carefully. Keep them relevant to what you're posting. If unsure, have a look throug the hashtags available to see if there are official ones available.

Missed my last social media tips? Catch up on them here


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