19.12.14

CHRISTMAS CRAFTS TO MAKE THIS WEEK END.

         Hi everyone, 

  It's the last week end before Christmas, so I thought I'd share a few last minute crafts that can be made over the next few days.
                       

 Hanging pine cones. Difficulty: easy. Time: 2 minutes per cone. You will need pine cones, brass eye screws and ribbon. Simply screw the brass eyes into the base of the cone and thread with ribbon.

                      

 Stockings. Difficulty: experience with a sewing machine helpfull. Time: 15 to 30 minutes.
You will need to make a template using a large sheet of paper/card. You will also need material, pins, scissors and a sewing machine. Draw a stocking shape on a piece of card, make sure it is a little larger than the size stocking you would like as you need to allow for the seam. Double over your fabric then tack your stencil on with pins, keeping it flat cut around the template so you have two matching pieces. Run a one centimetre hem at the top of each. Sew together with the hems facing outward, following the shape with a 1cm allowance. Turn the right way. You now have a basic stocking that can be customised with lace/pretty fabric, buttons and brooches.

                      

Dry wreath. Difficulty: easy. Time: 5 mins. You will need a willow wreath, ivy, dried flowers, needle and thread and floristry wire. Thread dried flowers together using a needle and cotton. Simply wrap ivy around tucking in stems and securing with wire. Attach dried blooms with wire and add a ribbon for hanging.



                     

Fresh wreath. Difficulty: medium. Time 30 mins (plus 1hr soaking). You will need an oasis ring (soaked in water for an hour), ribbon for hanging, good foliage such as holly or eucalyptus. Blooms, secateurs, florist wire and any pretty decorations. The full tutorial is on the blog in the Creative Corner (right of page).

                                   

Gift tags. Difficulty: easy. Time: 5 mins. You will need luggage tags, glue, fabric scraps, dried petals and glitter. Simply glue and stick fabric shapes and petals. So pretty, so simple.

       

Burlap bows. Difficulty: easy. Time: 5 mins. You will need burlap, scissors, lace, floristry wire and glitter. Cut a long strip of burlap and then bring the ends into the middle, pinch in the middle and adjust the ends by pulling into a bow shape. Secure around the middle with wire then wrap ribbon or lace around to hide the wire. Sprinkle with glitter.

                            

Fabric decorations. Difficulty: basic sewing skills needed. Time 15 mins per decoration. You will need templates of different shapes, pretty fabric, scissors, sewing machine (you can hand sew also) and pretty buttons, filling. Double the fabric and secure the template with pins, cut around. Place the pieces  together right way round. Carefully sew together leaving a 1cm gap to fill with stuffing. Sew up gap and attach ribbon for hanging, finish with pretty buttons. 

                            

Glittery wooden hearts. Difficulty: easy. Time: 1 minute. You will need wooden hearts (from craft supplies), glue, glitter, ribbon or wire. Apply glue to the rim of the heart and sprinkle with glitter, add a ribbon and pop on the tree.

                                                      Have a lovely week end everyone.
                                                                          Emma x






16.12.14

A YEAR OF THE GOOD LIFE.

.

Hello everyone,

Its been nearly two years now that we have kept our little bantam brood and this spring we welcomed our first chick-Bluebell. It was easter when one of our hens got very broody and spent her days sitting on her little egg in the hen-house. We were still so surprised when one morning the tiniest little white chick popped its head out from beneath her mothers wing. I don't know who was more proud, me or the hen!


Bwian the cockerel and I have a love hate relationship, he is a very grumpy man at times, but that is mainly when its raining so I suppose I can't really blame him. He takes his frustration out by chasing me up the garden path. He just needs lots of cuddles to calm him down and show him who's boss! lucky for me he is little, I don't think I could pick up a regular sized one. Im afraid to say that if you are unfortunate enough to have a grumpy, vicious cockerel- the advice they give to stop them being so, is to pick them up and walk around with them for 10 mins a day. It shows them that you are in control  and puts you at the head of the pecking order.
Some people may choose not to have a cockerel as you don't need one for eggs, however the benefits are worth it as he protects his ladies, finds them food and keeps order amongst them all.


Proud Bwian. I wouldn't be without him.
Our Pekin bantams are also very good layers and lay throughout the winter, although not as regularly as in the summer.
Bantams are also more garden friendly than the large breeds as they do not dig up the garden half as much. They do still require a patch of dirt for bathing, providing they have this they tend to leave the flowers alone, although they are rather partial to cyclamen and spring shoots.
Having chickens has been far easier than I'd ever imagined! They need cleaning out once a week (maybe more in the summer), they put themselves to bed too, plus you have the perk of fresh eggs.
They are also very therapeutic to have around.


This year also saw us with a new allotment to work on. 
The garden was so full the year before that I decided we really could do with more space! 
Some people like growing courgettes in with the roses, but I'm afraid thats not for me.
It was quite late in the season when we got our green patch, consequently we only used half of it, I can't wait to fill it up next year.
As well as keeping us in fruit and veg, I'm looking forward to planting up a bigger cutting patch for my blooms, hopefully there will be enough to cut to keep me and friends going throughout the year.
You are not allowed to sell any thing you have grown on your allotment, so I will keep selling my garden flowers at the gate and keep these for our home.


We grew the most amazing sweetcorn this year! its delicious done on the BBQ!



My eldest daughter shares my love for horses and started ridding earlier this year.
One day I would love to have the space to keep ponies!
Not sure it will ever happen, but all the fun is in dreaming!

I hope you've enjoyed my little reflection from the past year and continue to join my little family next year on striving for the good life.

Emma x





15.12.14

CREATIVE BUSINESS, SARAH WANTS, WEDDING STATIONERY

Hi everyone.

The creative business section of my humble little blog is currently brimming with fabulously talented people! (I promise I will get through everyone and share the creative love). 

This week I am delighted to share a wonderful creative business that I had the pleasure of styling and photographing last month. May I introduce the lovely Sarah Wants. Sarah designs gorgeous rustic and romantic wedding stationery, read all about her creative life and get inspired!

Emma x






What made you start your business?
From a young age I always wanted to have my own creative business. I tried a few different things before stationery, I had a little jewellery business, then sold lampshades and even thought about being a wedding planner and opening a shop! You could say they were failures, but I like to think that was all part of the journey to get to where I am today. I started stationery because I just love colour, pattern and texture. It’s a way to combine all of the things I love in a creative way to share with others.

What kind of training/experience did you do?
I studied interior design at university, due to my love of colour & pattern I thought it was the best course to take. Turns out it was more like interior architecture and more the technical side of design with CAD drawings and design of commercial spaces rather than the softer side of things. I saw it through, but with hindsight I should’ve taken textiles or illustration! Not a waste though as in a way interior design was the composition and layout of different elements of a space and colours to look harmonious in a 3D form; I do the same thing now but just on paper in a 2D form. I learnt all of the digital programmes that I use today so as I said; all part of the journey! On graduating I took a course in surface pattern design and that was it, I was hooked. I learnt how to take inspiration from things that I see in everyday life and recreate it in my own way and add to it to make something new. This is what I do with my stationery, the finished design is always inspired by something I’ve seen in everyday life.

Describe a typical working day?
I’ll wake up around 7am and eat breakfast with my husband before he goes off to work. Do a few house chores and then I’ll get to my desk around 8.30am. The first thing I have in front of me is a list for the day which I would’ve made at the end of the previous day. I like to schedule my tasks into time slots, it gives you a deadline and makes it super productive to get things done as I always try and race the clock! So I won’t open my inbox and put my phone in aeroplane mode so there are no distractions and I’ll start the day with the most stimulating tasks such as designing or creating new things, when my brain is most fresh. Then there may be some orders to pack and a post office run with a little 10 minute walk by the sea at lunchtime. I will always have emails to reply to and tend to do these later in the afternoon. Then I get a little second wind at around 4pm and turn the music up louder to keep me going for that last bit until 5.30 when my husband comes back through the door. I then promise myself to call it a day (but not before writing tomorrows to do list!) and have the evening off or else I could just work all night. Sounds a bit silly, as most people start their own business to get away from the 9-5 structure but it seems to work for me!  Sometimes I’ll do a bit of work on Saturday mornings or into the evening-it just depends what I have on. My busy season in January – July so will demand more of my time in those months. 

How do you manage the family-work balance?
Well I don’t have children yet so that is one less thing to consider. Plan to start a family in the next few years-we’ll see how I cope with that! I know I can’t have 9 months maternity leave like a normal mummy or else I won’t have a business to come back to. I will need extra help to balance work and children and my typical working day will most probably drastically change. I’ll get a nanny to come to the house and also an assistant to help me with the business. So my time is shared between the two. As it’s just me and the hubby for now, it is easy to have the 9-5 structure to match his work so we can spend the evenings and weekends together. 

What has been the biggest challenge?
Probably learning to call it a day and switch off! When you do what you love, it doesn’t feel like work. When I’m working at 10pm at night or on a Saturday, it doesn’t make a difference to me. I honestly lie in bed at night, thinking about tomorrow and get excited to wake up and start the day! However I have learnt that burning the candle at both ends is not good for your emotional health which therefore will affect your business and performance; a break is good for the soul. You need to take time out to grow and I come up with my best ideas when I’m away from my desk. You need to give yourself and your brain space to think, imagine and be inspired. Sometimes it is hard to walk away so you just have to be strict with yourself and go for a walk and see some people and other surroundings-that is important too! You can then come back with fresh eyes, recharged and ready. Work hard and play hard. 

Where do you get your inspiration?
From my world! Sounds strange but I just go through life with my eyes and ears open to the world around me. I constantly take photos of things when I’m out and about, it might be a flower growing in a garden, the peeling paint pattern on an old door I walk past or just a pretty combination of colours in a shop window. My Cornflower meadow design was inspired by the beautiful painted wooden shutters I saw on holiday in France earlier in the year. I just couldn’t stop taking photos of them everywhere I went. I knew I had to just bring that colour and texture into one of my designs! My lovebirds design was inspired by the little birds that flit about in my garden. The love is in the air design was inspired by scattered confetti on the floor outside the church and the romantic notion that ‘love is in the air’ at a wedding. So a design will start off with a spark of an idea like that and then just grows and evolves. I love adding flowers, floral patterns and bunting and just little rustic details to build up the layers of texture and colour. This is where the real me shines! 

Do you use social media to reach your clients, and which ones work well for you?
I use Instagram, Facebook, twitter and Pinterest. I find twitter is good for connecting with the wedding industry and find Facebook and Pinterest is best for getting out there in front of your actual clients. Instagram I just love-it makes me so happy! 

Is there any advice you could give to others wanting to start their own kitchen table business?
If you’re going to start a business you need to be prepared for serious hard work! It depends if you just want it to be a bit of a hobby to make a bit of extra on the side or whether you want it to be a full time breadwinning business I guess. Don’t underestimate the amount of time, money and effort you need to put into it. Mine started off at the kitchen table in late 2012 as just a little test really, and it just grew from there. I worked hard on it in my spare time whilst working full time whilst the business was still young and then went part time and then eventually gave up my day job to work full time on the business from home. That was a scary but fabulous feeling all in one! We are building our forever home in the country in January and going to build a garden studio to work from. I can’t wait-it will have an outlook of rolling green hills and distant sea glimpses and I can watch the sunset every day from my desk-bliss! I also won the ‘Best wedding stationery 2014’ award from Wedding Ideas magazine earlier this year. Definitely one of the best moments of my life and was so proud of my little business. I think my business has taken off because I literally put my heart and soul into it. I am my business and my business is me. My advice to anyone wanting to start a business is to not put too much pressure on yourself at the beginning, there has to be a certain amount of time to pass to let things grow and develop. These things take time; it just doesn’t happen overnight! Be open to change, listen to your customers and let the idea organically evolve. Also you need to do something that you are passionate about. So many people make the mistake of seeing someone else doing it and just think I could do that, but in reality when it comes to it, it’s not really them and they fizzle out. You need to have that fire in your belly for what you do, to keep you going through the tough times and for years to come. 

What is the best thing about having your own creative business?

Probably that I am constantly learning and developing; I love that I am never stood still. Every day I’m working on something, towards a goal and constantly growing as a person and a business. I look back to where I was this time a year ago and there has been such a massive change and I love that. I wonder where I’ll be in a years’ time; that feeling excites me so much! 

www.sarahwants.com





13.12.14

SHABBY CHIC ROSES.

       

                                      

                                      
                                           

Hello,

I bought these fabulous roses the other week to adorn my door wreath, I had quite a few left over and now they are just starting to fade. They are still sooo beautiful even in their tatty state, even more romantic don't you think?

                                       I hope you all have a lovely weekend.

                                                             Emma x


    

9.12.14

HANDMADE CHRISTMAS

Hello lovelies,

 I've been busy Christmas crafting this week. I love this time of year when I can sit at the coffee table with the log burner going full roar, a hot cup of tea and my own weight in glitter! What's not to love?!
So I thought I'd share a few pics of my Christmas makes...

                                  

                                 


                                 

 I make different variations of my Christmas tags every year, although dried hydrangea petals always feature heavily. This year I had some pretty lace and some Kate Forman fabric left over so decided to do some fabric ones too. My family love getting these tags on their pressies, and often use them as bookmarks, they are just too pretty to throw away! My tags are very simple to make yourself, but if your stuck for time they are available from my online shop. (Link on page).

                    

As well as a fresh wreath, I also made this natural one from our wisteria stems and decorated it with Rose buds that I had dried out and threaded onto cotton, and some fresh ivy from the woods. I love it's rustic charm. Perfect for any season, and looks good inside as well as outdoors.
 My wisteria wreaths will be available to buy online in the spring. I hope you're all having a good week, and that you are enjoying all of the festivities that Christmas brings.

                                                                     Emma x


8.12.14

#STYLINGTHESEASONS DECEMBER

Hello lovelies,



Welcome to my Decembers Styling The Seasons which is hosted by Katy of Apartment Apothecary  and Lotts from Lotts and lots.

December is always going to be a fun month to style the home, I don't think I really stop faffing till Christmas eve...

Today I thought I would play around and style the mantle pieces. Normally I fill them to the brim, but I'm holding back for something simple yet sophisticated this year.... So I'm trying to do less is more! (so bad at doing this... love to hoard)!


I love pink, gold and charcoal. I picked up these cute little gold bottles last weekend from a Christmas market, and the pink glass candle sticks were from my favourite vintage shop in Southwold.


I got the ivy from our local woods, its great to work with as it dries out and still looks pretty, plus you can bend it into shape.


I just painted this little terracotta pot in chalk white eggshell and popped a hyacinth in with some moss. I love the crackle glaze tea light holders too. They are so pretty at night.


Simple yet elegant, just finished off with a couple of my favourite roses. Now to leave it alone!

Hope December treats you all well.

Emma x







6.12.14

DOOR WREATH TIPS.

                                

 Hello lovelies,

I love this time year don't you? Making a wreath for my door is one of my favourite things to do, I love getting the house prettily dressed for Christmas. I thought I'd share with you my top tips for making a floral wreath.

You will need an oasis ring, scissors, wire, ribbon for hanging, foliage and a choice of blooms.
To help you choose a colour scheme try taking some paint charts out to your door to see what colours work well, you can then take this to the florist.

       
The evening before, soak your wreath by submerging it in water over night. Also if you want to add in ornaments such as cones, bows and brooches (whatever takes your fancy) wire these up so that you can secure them to your wreath.

      
      

Cut foliage and blooms to size, you will need to trim to a point and remove lower leaves, you will need about 2 inches to go into your oasis. Top tip... Loosely wrap the ribbon and start by adding the foliage underneath it so as to give it maximum support. Cover your wreath with foliage working all the way round till it is full.

                                    
Hold it up to check its balance and make sure there are no gaps. Now you can add your blooms. I've gone for roses and hydrangeas, and I like to work in odd numbers so I've picked 3 of each. Space them around your wreath.

     
     

Lastly add any bows or ornaments with the wire. It's that easy! Spray to keep fresh. Top tip... Roses love to be outside in a wreath at this time of year and can last up to a month, if flowers do droop simply replace with fresh ones.

                                                        
                                  

                                                                    Emma x