Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Blogging resolutions

It's been a very hectic couple of months; moving, decorating, cramming in the Christmas shopping, unpacking boxes, cleaning and hosting Christmas for all the family. And juggling all that with our lovely little man who is now seven months old and growing up far too fast for my liking.

After being crammed into a temporary one bedroom flat with a growing mountain of baby stuff, the wonderful news is that we are in our lovely new house. We're feeling properly grown up with a garden complete with a shed and everything! 

After a hectic few months, the last visitors left yesterday so we finally had a chance to sit back with a glass of wine, look around our new home and appreciate how lucky we are. 

There's still plenty to do though, as my study/craft room needs decorating and seems to have been designated as the junk room and is stuffed full of boxes. When it is cleared and the sewing machine gets unpacked I'll start some new projects and write some tutorials.

My resolutions for 2014 are all about positivity rather than denial, so here's to a  productive and creative year with lots of making and blogging.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Wood Street Market

One of the reasons I love London, is that even after living here for over 13 years, I'm still always discovering new places. Since moving to our temporary flat in Leytonstone, we've been able to explore lots of new spots further east and this is one of my favourite finds. It was actually the boyfriend who discovered it in his never-ending quest for more vinyl after a tip off. And after he disappeared there for hours at a time, he finally told me that the market also had vintage furniture and clothes. I'm not sure why he didn't tell me that sooner!

Exterior shot of Wood Street Market signage

Anyway, Wood Street Market is right next to Wood Street overground in the Walthamstow postcode but only a 5 minute drive from Leytonstone. And it is totally worth the trip. It's just off a totally unassuming high street and inside is a maze of antique, vintage and independent shops. Aside from loads of vinyl record dealers, you can also find vintage dresses, jewellery, furniture and also shops selling hand made soap and even a small liquer shop called Mother's Ruin.

Wood Street market interior

Vintage games machine

I have a thing about buying old chairs, so it was only because we still haven't moved house that I was able to resist the beautifully restored chairs on offer from The Chair Man. You can even watch him at work in his workshop.

The Chair Man working in his workshop

vintage chairs restored by The Chair Man
Love the oil tin stools
I've made a mental note to come back to Wood Street Market next time I need to find a nice frock for a wedding, as the lovely lady at Gigi's Dressing Room was helping a customer into a gorgeous vintage dress and even does the alterations.

Vintage dresses hanging outside Gigi's Dressing Room

Vintage dresses in the corridor of Wood Street Market

I'm not sure if Wood Street Market is open every day during the week but it is certainly open on Saturdays and on Sundays there is even a little pop up coffee shop on site too.

The Wood Street Market website seems to be broken at the moment but I will add a link once it is back up and running.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Our Little Man Has Arrived

The reason for the radio silence on the blog....

Our beautiful boy Finley Milo arrived on 31st May. We've made it out of those hazy first few weeks and are now enjoying getting out and about in the sunshine. 

I still have lots of posts I was meant to write up while I was pregnant, including a tutorial for this blanket I made that you can see in the photo. All to follow, maybe once this sunny weather is over! 

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Moving East

We've finally sold our flat in Broadway market and are in the process of buying an actual, grown up three bedroom house! We need the space not only for the impending arrival but hopefully there'll be more room to set up the sewing machine as well as more space for the boy's ever-expanding record and guitar collection.

With only a week to go until the bump's due date I've got lots of outstanding blog posts to write, including a baby blanket tutorial which I will publish soon. But in the meantime, I thought I'd share a few images of our new neighbourhood. We're staying in a flat in Leytonstone until the sale of our house gets sorted and like lots of people I had no idea how lovely the parks and 'countryside' is around here.

Wanstead Park is just down the road, has lots of lakes and a brilliant kiosk that sells home made cake and tea in proper mugs that you can enjoy while watching the ducks. The bluebells also happen to be out at the moment and they look and smell totally amazing.

Bluebells in Wanstead Park

And nearby in the other direction is Hollow Ponds, which also make you feel like you are out in the country rather than in a park just outside of central London. We're already getting excited about bringing the little one here for walks once he finally arrives.

Hollow Ponds Leyton & Leytonstone

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Hemingway Design at John Lewis

Hemingway Design vanity case with Art Deco inspired design
We've been spending quite a bit of time in the John Lewis baby department recently, but I managed to sneak off to the haberdashery department. With the impending house move and new arrival, I haven't had much time for crafting recently so I was looking for inspiration. And I couldn't help admiring this lovely collection by Hemingway Design for John Lewis. Inspired by Art Deco motifs and shapes, the whole collection is lovely, I especially like the vanity cases which would make a very stylish place to stash your craft stuff. They'd be equally lovely as vanity cases in the old fashioned sense too, to carry around make up or as an overnight bag.

Hemingway Design range, vanity cases and tins

Hemingway tins and purses with vintage sewing patterns
Tins and purses with designs inspired by vintage sewing patterns.
 Hemingway Design is run by Wayne and Gerardine design who designed under the Red or Dead label in the 90s and who have since worked on a fascinating variety of projects ever since, on everything from wall tiles to the first vintage festival at London's Southbank. (You can read more about the Hemingway Design history on their website.)

Hemingway Design notebook with Art Deco inspired print
Hemingway Design buttons, pins and needles metal tins
Even the simple button, pin and needle tins are stylish with a simple Art Deco font.
 It's so nice to see some craft accessories that aren't the usual twee floral patterns that seem to be everywhere trying to emulate the Cath Kidston aesthetic. You can buy the collection online at the the John Lewis website.


Sunday, 27 January 2013

Fabric Haul from the Middle East

Over Christmas, I was lucky enough to go to Oman in the Middle East to visit my parents. Apart from the weather and good food, a big bonus are the material shops full of unusual prints that you can't get over here. I stocked up on fabric so I can start making some new designs and also try out making new things for my little bump. In the excitement of a whole shop full of material and preparing myself for some haggling, I stupidly forgot to take some photos inside the shop. Maybe next time. For now, here's a little look at a few of the new styles I bought.

Green material with yellow chickens

Multicoloured vintage and retro coffee and tea pot print material

Pink, red and blue sweet print material with blue pattern

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Baby Essentials

I can't quite believe it but I am already almost 6 months pregnant. So far we haven't really got anything sorted, as we're planning on moving house before the baby is born and we don't want to fill our flat with things when we're having viewings.

Luckily, my ever stylish friend Amber who writes the Theatre of Fashion blog bought our son his first tuxedo...

Black and white babygrow novelty tuxedo with bow tie

And Daddy-to-be bought him a Moustache dummy...
Moustache pacifier plastic baby dummy
And that's pretty much all we've got so far but surely that's all the Spring/Summer 13 essentials sorted?

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Upcycle Those Christmas Cards

If you haven't quite got round to recycling your pile of Christmas cards, why not upcycle them instead? I know that this is a bit late and most people took their decorations down last weekend, but even if you've already thrown away your cards, this is a great way to create your own gift tags during the rest of the year.

Label shaped punch used to recycle christmas cards

I love old fashioned, brown luggage/postage labels and already use them in my bib packaging, so I loved the idea of this label shaped punch when I read about it on the Offbeat & Inspired blog back in December. I immediately bought one online from Amazon and intended to use it to make some homemade labels for Christmas. Sadly I didn't actually get it until after Christmas, but when I was taking down all my Christmas cards last week I was thinking what a shame it was to throw them away when I remembered the punch.

Christmas gift tags made from various recycled Christmas cards

It's so simple to use and strangely addictive, you find yourself wanting to punch label shapes out of everything! Now I have lots of labels ready for next year which I've packed away with the ribbons and Christmas wrapping paper. As it will be the first Christmas with a new baby, I think I'll be very glad that I was so organised!

brown and white christmas gift tag made from recycled christmas card

I do intend to use it all year round to make pretty home made tags, like the ones made out of cereal boxes that Offbeat & Inspired originally blogged about that inspired me in the first place! Have a look at Sarah & Tiffany's beautiful tags here.