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31 March 2016

Sewing shops in Scotland

sewing shops in scotland

Over on the Simple Stylish Makes blog I'm sharing some fab sewing shops to check out in Scotland. Head on over to find out more and don't forget to share your makes with all of us at the Simple Stylish Makes team using the hashtag #simplestylishmakers. We LOVE to see what you've been creating!

Want to see more of my sewing tips? Head over here and don't forget to check out my Haberdashery and Sewing Pinterest boards for inspiration too.

Happy sewing!

30 March 2016

Going on an adventure: what to take with you on a day trip to the city

There are lots of essential items to consider taking with you on an adventure but they vary widely depending on the type of adventure you're going on. Today I'm going to focus on what to take with you on a day trip to a city.

Get your favourite rucksack out and pack the following:

  • Money and phone (and camera if your phone doesn't have one).
  • Wear layers, so that you're prepared should the weather change and flat, comfortable shoes.
  • Good quality plasters in case you get blisters from exploring.
  • Umbrella, especially in the UK where showers can appear as if by magic or take a waterproof jacket, with hood.
  • Sunglasses and mini bottle of suncream (check the weather forecast before you go).
  • Travel tissues (useful in case you get caught short in a public loo).
  • Any medication that you can't leave the house without.
  • A book if you're travelling by public transport or a mix cd/ipod if going by car.
  • Water, a snack and some mints. Cereal bars are good as they're easy to carry and travel well.
  • Guidebook and a map if you're guidebook doesn't have an extensive one. If not, find out where the local tourist information centre is and pick one up.
  • Tote bag in case you buy any goodies.

If you fancy planning an adventure, check out my previous post on how to begin and if you're in need of inspiration, head to my Pinterest board! Happy adventuring!

If you like my tips and tricks, sign up to my monthly newsletter for more! 

29 March 2016

Haberdashery Corner - Needle Magnet

needle magnet

Over on the Simple Stylish Makes blog, I'm sharing my latest Haberdashery Corner post. Head on over to learn more and don't forget to share your makes with all of us at the Simple Stylish Makes team using the hashtag #simplestylishmakers. We LOVE to see what you've been creating!

Want to see some of my sewing tips? Head over here and don't forget to check out my Haberdashery and Sewing Pinterest boards for inspiration too.

Happy sewing!

28 March 2016

#MarchMeetTheMaker - Organised

dresser for fabric

Today on #MarchMeetTheMaker the photo prompt is the word, organised. Pop on over to my Instagram page to find out how I keep organised as a solopreneur.

25 March 2016

What's on the jukebox, Jo?

This week I've taken a much needed break down in the south-west. I've seen my amazing family, gone on walks and explored the stunning gardens of Hestercombe, knitted by the fire and watched Brooklyn at the cinema, bought GORGEOUS French vintage linen from a textile fair at Ulminster Arts Centre, had lots of lunches out and the best thing of all - I became an Aunty to the most beautiful niece a girl could ask for!!!

I'm now going to spend the Easter weekend with my bestie, sharing a few jars and laughing until our sides ache. With that in mind, it's no surprise that the top of my playlist this week has been, Ha Ha Ha Ha by White Denim. A perfect little number for a week off work and for a glorious bank holiday Friday.

Have a good one!

23 March 2016

Favourite craft blogs


Here are some of my favourite craft blogs:

Archie & the Rug


A Beautiful Mess

Cut Out + Keep

My Paper Crane

Bugs and Fishes

Fall For DIY

Crafting Fingers

Have you got any favourites? I'd love to hear about them, so please do share in the comments below.

Happy crafting!

21 March 2016

#MarchMeetTheMaker - Work Clothes


Today on #MarchMeetTheMaker the prompt is, work clothes. Part of my working day in the studio involves ALOT of sitting. I'm either sitting typing away on my computer or I'm working my sewing machine's foot peddle into over time. Sitting around can get rather chilly, unless the sun is beaming on through the window. On those cool days, my thick navy cardigan keeps me snug. 

But I don't just rely on that, I also make myself stand up every hour and either do ten star jumps or some stretches to get the circulation going. Having music on for most of the day in the studio helps with the star jumps. 

If you'd like to see more behind the scenes snaps of my studio, pop on over to my Instagram page to have a nose around :-)

19 March 2016

How to throw a tea party

Vintage tea cups

Hands up; who loves a good tea party? Cucumber sandwiches and Earl Grey tea, pink lemonade and cup cakes, jelly and ice cream......just writing all that down makes me want to get the picnic blanket out and set a tea party up in the garden right away.

If you're looking to throw a tea party this summer, here are some top tips to make it the best party yet.

vintage napkins
Credit: The Creative Crockery Company

Get your vintage tea cups and tea pots (you'll need more than one), plates and bowls, napkins and doilies, cutlery and cake stand out of the cupboard. Check you've got enough. If not, you can pick some great china up from charity shops or ask to borrow from friends or family.

When and where?
Indoors or outdoors? Home or local park? Spring or Summer? These all depend on the weather, how much space you've got and how easy it is for people to get to the tea party location. 

If you'd love nothing more than to have a big tea party at your local park but are uncertain because of the changeable British weather, have a back-up plan. Choose a park that is close to home. Tell everyone where, when and what to bring. If the weather makes a change for the worse, have a plan B - back to your place! Just make sure you've cleared up at home, so that it's an easy transition to an indoor party.

vintage tea cups
Credit: This Ivy House

You can really go to town with this and even have a theme or you can keep it simple, it's entirely up to you. For a classic tea party, get some pretty bunting, flowers and candles. You could even have fairy lights weaving around your plates and teapots. Depending on whether you're having an indoor or outdoor party, you could think about having lots of pretty throws overlapping each other, with plump cushions dotted around and a vintage radio singing along in the background. 

Remember to serve different types of tea, including caffeine free. Pink lemonade is a classic, which you could serve in kilner jar drinking glasses, with stripey straws. Think about having a bottle of bubbly on ice or in a cool bag if you're heading to the park.

PostiveMed tea party drink
Credit: PostiveMed

There are so many lovely ideas for a gorgeous spread of food that you could be eating it up for the rest of the week. So, make sure you've got a good balance of savoury and sweet, as well as vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free depending on who's coming. Also, make your guests aware whether they need to bring anything and essentially, what. You don't want to end up with loads of cup cakes and not enough sandwiches. No one would complain but hey, you want this to be the perfect party!

Foods to consider having include: sandwiches, quiche, savoury parcels, sausage rolls, crips and dips, cup cakes, biscuits, scones with jam and cream, and jelly and ice cream. If you're having an outdoor party, especially at the local park, make sure the food is easily portable and isn't difficult to eat while sat on a picnic blanket. 

tea party
Credit: Tea Time Magazine

Games and entertainment
You don't necessarily need any entertainment because the tea party itself will be full of chatter and merriment but here are some ideas if you fancy more than just cucumber sandwiches. 

To go for that full on Victoria/vintage style party you could have a game of croquet, charades or blind man's buff. You could even get everyone to come dressed up in vintage style clothes. For a kid's party you could play musical chairs, pass the parcel or a tea themed bingo. Another idea is to put a collection of 1940s music together and have a tea party dance.

If you need more inspiration, I've also created a tea party Pinterest board full of gorgeous ideas for table decor, recipes and beverages. Head over here to have a look and enjoy that tea party!

18 March 2016

What's on the jukebox, Jo?

sewing scraps

This week my studio playlist has, without a doubt, had on repeat Where the light gets in by Primal Scream, Skinny Love by Bon Iver and Groove Armada's Paper Romance. A bit of mixture but they've definitely pushed me forward with my creative goals this week as I put the finishing touches to some brand new designs in order to get them sent off to my photographer. If you follow me on Instagram you may have spied a few of them as I've been sneaking them into my snaps, tee hee! AND you lucky lot will have a chance to win one of these brand new designs! The details of which will be going in my next newsletter, so don't forget to sign up here. You gotta be in it, to win it!

I've also been having fun with the #MarchMeetTheMaker challenge this week, as well as finding some great Easter craft projects for you guys to try your hand at. As well as sending out shop orders, I've been sharing some tips on sewing and using an overlocker.

With the weather warming up and spring truly on the horizon, tomorrow on the blog it's all about how to throw a tea party. Now is definitley the time to get planning one, so don't forget to check back in tomorrow. 

Now go put some music on and dance for the weekend is about to arrive.

17 March 2016

Sewing tips

sewing tools

Over on the Simple Stylish Makes blog, I'm sharing some sewing tips. Head on over to learn more and don't forget to share your makes with all of us at the Simple Stylish Makes team using the hashtag #simplestylishmakers. We LOVE to see what you've been creating!

Want to see more of my sewing tips? Head over here and don't forget to check out my Haberdashery and Sewing Pinterest boards for inspiration too.

Happy sewing!

16 March 2016

Overlocker tips

overlocker tips

Got yourself an overlocker? Great! Here are some tips to help get you started.

1) Learn to thread your machine. It really isn't that scary and after a bit of practice you'll be threading it in your sleep. Well hopefully not but you get my drift. Remember also to use tweezers to help pull the thread through. Tweezers save a load of hassle and possible bouts of swearing, ha ha!

2) Test your tension before getting going on that sewing project. Yes, as boring as it sounds, it will save you heartache further down the line. Grab a square of the fabric you're going to be sewing with and overlock one edge. Check the tension and look carefully to see which thread is out. Sometimes you will only need to adjust one thread, not all of them. Keep testing the tension until you've got it right and then away you go!

3) Do not sew over pins. If you're going to pin, make sure the pins are a good distance from the seam line.

4) Clean your machine regularly and I don't mean a quick dust. Open up the part where you thread your machine and the outside edge too. Now get all those dust bunnies out. An overlocker builds up a lot of dust bunnies/lint, so always clean it before and after. It ensures good tension, no broken needles etc.

5) If you're having problems, remember to check the manual, which should have a trouble-shooting section. I know, yawn yawn but they're there for a reason and can really save your bacon.

Want to see more of my sewing tips? Head over here and don't forget to check out my Haberdashery and Sewing Pinterest boards for inspiration too.

Happy sewing!

14 March 2016

#MarchMeetTheMaker - First ever sale and feedback

I'm really enjoying the #MarchMeetTheMaker challenge. It's helping me focus on my business in order to show you all what goes on behind the scenes and that's definitely pushing me forward.

For the challenge this weekend the prompts were, First ever sale and Feedback. Head over to my Instagram page to see my snaps and also have a read of my thoughts on both of these topis

Adventures & Tea Parties hankies

12 March 2016

Easter DIY Projects

Today I'm sharing a selection of fab Easter DIY projects you could try your hand at. I've also put together a Pinterest board full of more fun Easter craft tutorials. Head over here for a look and happy crafting!

Credit: Style Me Pretty Living
Credit: Little Inspiration
Credit: We Are Scout
Ella Claire Inspired DIY
Credit: Ella Claire Inspired
Lovely Indeed Easter Egg DIY
Credit: Lovely Indeed

11 March 2016

What's on the jukebox, Jo?

Handmade Personalised Hankies
This week has been a busy one full of shops orders, freelance blogging, creating and testing a sewing pattern for a new design idea, putting finishing touches together on more brand new designs and planning something rather exciting, which I can't announce yet. Ha ha, I do like to tease! I've also been having lots of fun taking part in the #MarchMeetTheMaker challenge over on Instagram

Encouraging all that creativity and on top of the play list this week, without a doubt, has been Pala Tute by Gogol Bordello. The excitement and speed of the song totally sums my week up! It's also a great one to have a dance to and get you in the mood for the weekend.

Happy dancing!

9 March 2016

Favourite sewing blogs

Favourite sewing blogs

Here are some of my favourite sewing blogs, which any sewing enthusiast should totally check out.

Made by Rae

What Katie Sews


Tilly and the Buttons

House of Pinheiro


Handmade Jane

Guthrie & Ghani

Did you make that?

Have you got any favourites not listed here? I'd love to hear about them, so please do post a link in the comments below.

Happy sewing!

8 March 2016

International Women's Day

What a fabulous day International Women's Day is. A whole day dedicated to incredible women the world over. If you want to find out a bit more, head over to Twitter and read all the great links and tweets under the hashtag #InternationalWomensDay. You can also find out events happening near you to celebrate this day on the International Women's Day website.

As part of this day I want to give a shout out to a number of amazing women who run their own businesses and who I admire greatly.

The mother and daughter team, Judith and Samantha, rescued Maidenhead's sewing centre that was due to close. They were super brave and created Sew Crafty, a gorgeous sewing shop and it's gone from strength to strength. Amazing.

Sammy (aka Samantha from Sew Crafty) and H from Live it. Love it. Make it. are two women I really admire. Their GORGEOUS creative blog is such an inspiration. It's fresh, creative and totally alive with wonderful content. They've been featured in top craft magazines, such as Mollie Makes, and they're just the loveliest ladies!

Claire from Claireabellemakes and Sophie from Onetenzeroseven are some of the most hard working, determined women I know. If you could only see how much they do behind the scenes to run their own business, I reckon you'd need to have a lie down. It's immense. They are also the most wonderfully, supportive, generous women. I honestly don't know what I'd do without them. 

Which women do you greatly admire?

7 March 2016

#MarchMeetTheMaker - How & Why?

Adventures & Tea Parties Hankies

Today on #MarchMeetTheMaker Instagram challenge the theme is, "How & Why". For that topic, I'm talking about how and why I make personalised handkerchiefs. Pop on over to my Instagram page to find out more. Oh and see those hankies? They're brand new, double-sided hankies, which I'm currently working on in a range of patterns and colours. They will be in my online shops very soon! 

6 March 2016


This month I'm taking part in Joanne Hawker's fabulous #MarchMeetTheMaker Instagram challenge. It's a fun little project to help us small business folk tell the story behind our brands and give an insight into all the hard work that goes into the whole process of running a creative business.

Each day, Joanne has set an Instagram photo prompt and here they are if you fancy joining in the fun!

Credit: Joanne Hawker

Joanne has also created a handy, free planner to help you get organised and think ahead of what you would like to share about your awesome business! You can find the planner here.

If you'd like to have a look-see at what I've been sharing as part of #MarchMeetTheMaker, including pics of my studio and fabric I'm currently working with, head on over to my Instagram page!

Adventures and Tea Parties workspace

4 March 2016

What's on the jukebox, Jo?

This week kick-started with my brand new blog make-over by Magic Feather Designs and Studio Rokit. What do you think? I absolutely love the fresh new look and fab layout! I also sent out my first newsletter on Sunday, and managed to squeeze in some sewing time and made these beauties!
new craft house knicker making kit
There was a lot of shuffling going behind the scenes too, including working with my graphic designer on some fun wash care cards to accompany all my handkerchief and bow tie orders! Here's a sneak peek! We also finalised some graphics to accompany a brand new accessory, hitting my online shops very soon, woooo!
bow tie care cards

This week I had the great pleasure of interviewing two AWESOME creative people! Jo from Hello Sunshine was my March Blog Gem and knitwear designer, Erika Knight featured as part of my Simple Stylish Makes 'Five minutes with...' blog series. I love interviewing creative people as you get to find out what makes them tick and have a wonderful glimpse into their world.

Hello Sunshine
Credit: Jo Want from Hello Sunshine
On top of that I've been busy working away on new designs, ordering in gorgeous new fabric from Sew Crafty, snapping away on my Instagram, sending out shop orders, doing a tonne of reading and admin.....and of course, I've been doing all of that to the sound of sweet, sweet music! Top of the playlist this week has been:

Nothing But Love by James
Standing in the way of control by Gossip
No Cops by Night Beats
Planet Sizes by Steve Mason

Pop these tunes on, have a little dance and go enjoy that weekend, folks!
Happy Friday!

3 March 2016

Five minutes with knitwear designer, Erika Knight

Erica Knight

Find out all about the fabulous knitwear designer, Erika Knight in my recent interview with her on the Simple Stylish Makes blog!


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