Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Easter Projects

Aswell as adoring fabric I like nothing better than leafing through craft books, particuarly those about sewing and of course feature fabric!  I discovered Sew Pretty Homestyle by Tone Finnanger last year and quite literally feel in love with the projects in the book.  The pictures of the creations were inspriing and the instructions for the projects were clear with a section at the beginning about how to choose fabrics and notions and pattern cutting.  I have since added to my collection Sew Pretty Christmas Homestyle and plan to buy Sew Sunny Homestyle very soon!  These books are publishes by the craft supplies company Tilda, whose Scandi style craft supplies are available in this country.

With the daffodils poking their heads gingerly out as the weather turns chilly again and the Easter bank holiday approaching you maybe looking for a Spring project.  I would highly recommend Crafting Springtime Gifts by Tone Finnanger, with pages full of rabbits, hares, chicks, lambs and eggs.  Or I have just found a new Tilda book, by Finnanger to help get ready for the Summer, Tilda's Summer Ideas.

All these books are available at Amazon

Visit Tilda for more inspiration and The Cotton Patch stock a fabrics designed by Tone Finnanger.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Seeing YoYo's before my eyes!

I have spent the past few days in between everything else sewing fabric yoyos for some cushions I am busy making.  Big ones, small ones, medium sized ones, stripey ones, dotty ones and yellow ones,  I'm beginning to wonder if it's spots or yoyos before my eyes!!  So to give me a break from little running stitches I decided to see what other people are using yoyos for!

Available from Seams So Easy

Available from SH Creations

Available from Bliss Knits

Available from Tefi

Available from Yoyoodyne Inc

Availabe from DK Temple

Yoyo's are a great embellishment to many projects and very simple to make.
  • Cut a circle of fabric double the width you want the finished yoyo to be.
  • Fold the raw edge in,(with the wrong side of the fabric facing you) but not too much, enough for a small hem.
  • Sew a running stitch all the way around the circle, folding over the edge as you go, if you haven't pinned it.  (I do it this way as I can never be bothered to pin the hem!)
  • Now gently pull the thread so the edge ruffles until you have what resembles a rossette
  • Tie off your thread, you now have a yoyo!
  • WARNING they are addictive!!

Friday, 26 March 2010

Fabric Friday - Anna Maria Horner

It' Friday, which means it's time to indulge my passion for print with Fabric Friday!  I have had another successful trip to the library and came home with Seams to Me by Anna Maria Horner.  I love sewing books, especially one by textile designers so was thrilled to find another great book full of projects.....I am hoping on my next trip I will find a magicial book explaining how to make a couple of extra hours a day so I can try out the ideas in my growing collection of books! (This expanded yesterday as it was my birthday and my lovely husband listened to the hints for Poppy Treffry's new book & Sew by Cath Kidston).  I will start writing reviews for my collection of books very this space!!

Anyway back to Fabric Friday. Thoughts of Anna Maria Horner's designs automatically conjures images of bright colours and bold prints.  The latest range 'Folksy Flannels' is Anna Maria's first flannel collection and is inspired by the much admired 'Little Folks' and 'Good Folks' collections, that leave me thinking of cosy nights in a cottage reminiscent of fairytale books I read as a child.  I can almost sense the wolf knocking on Grandma's door.  Yet the 'Good Folks' collection makes me think of the gorgeous quilts hanging to dry in the 'Mamma Mia' movie. No surprise then that Anna Maria is of Greek heritage embracing the vibrant mix of colour and pattern that can only make us think of warm summer nights on Greek islands.

Whilst I automatically think of Anna Maria as a textile designer I was surprised to learn that she graduated with an Honours Fine Art Degree in Drawing and then went on to open a clothing and homewares boutique, Handmaiden, with her mother.  This gave Anna Maria the opportunity to design and make a clothing range which was later available wholesale to several stores across the USA.  She stills paints and exhibits aswell as colaborating with many retail outlets to produce collections in various mediums, including homewares and gifts alongside designing fabric collections.  Most amazingly Anna Maria does all this whilst being mummy to six children.  As a mother of five who always needs more time to get things done I feel inadequate looking at Anna Marias porfolio of accomplishments.  She is truly inspiring and the next time I think how am I ever going to find the time to run a business, home and family, my new mantra will be 'If Anna Maria can, so can I'.

Available from Pinnikity

Available from BellaLou

Available from Lindy Lou

Available from The Purple Fig

You can find more details about Anna Maria Horner's work here

Wednesday, 24 March 2010


The house is filled with the yummy aroma of cupcakes.  I am working my way through the delicious Hummingbird Bakery cookbook at the moment after finding it at the library the other day.  I'm not sure I'll have managed every receipe before it's due back.....thank goodness for renewals!

So I started to think of cupcake inspired creations and decided to take a look on Etsy & Folksy, here's some of the results!

This gorgeous collection of wet felted 'cakes' could be used as pincushions.
Available  from Woolly Duck

Textile art on canvas
Available from Art Angel

'C' is for cupcake
Available from Little Lottie Ladies

Available from Jennys Bake Shop

This would make the drying up less of a chore!

No these aren't edible!

Available from Buttons & Bows

I'm off now to make some vanilla frosting.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

A secret to share with designers who use fabric

Shhhh! Let me tell you a secret.  If you use a lot of fabric in your designs/work you may well benefit from a designer account with fabric distributors.  Whilst all fabric addicts can name drop....Amy Butler, Heather Ross, Michael Miller, Anna Maria Horner, Blake name a few, but many of these design for 'fabric houses' and are distributed by big companies.  This then got me to remembering when I worked for Ramm, Son & Crocker an upholstery producer several years ago and they offered trade accounts to interior designers.  So I set about checking websites for different designers and looking into the wholesale details with their distributors.  After contacting several distributors it became apparant that designer accounts are available to people like us!

Obviously there are some catches, like minimum order quantities (MOQ), buying designs by the bolt and shipping, duty and customs when the fabric is coming from outside the UK.  But if you use alot of fabric this maybe beneficial. I have compiled a list of the companies I contacted and details of any MOQ.  To qualify for a designer account you will need to provide details of your business and you cannot just resell the fabric, it has to be used by you.

Amy Butler & Freespirit Fabrics (Anna Maria Horner, Valori Wells & many more) (Rowan Fabrics)
£200 MOQ
Buy the design by the bolt or half bolt
Price per yard - approx. half RRP
Form to complete providing business details

Cath Kidston
15% designer discount
You will need to provide a copy of your letterhead

Alexander Henry
Distributed by a company in Denmark
One bolt minimum per design, 20 yard bolt, approx. half RRP.

Designers Guild
25% designer discount
You will need to provide a company profile on letterheaded paper and complete a trade account form.
No MOQ, buy by the metre.

Birch Fabrics
This is a new company with their first collection being available in the next 6 weeks.
4 bolt MOQ

Michael Miller
UK distributor
Awaiting response, will update.

Robert Kaufman
Awaiting response, will update

So I hope this helps some of you keep your costs down and increases the profit margins!

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Sunshine Award

WOW what a week! I don't normally post today but just had to share the great week I have had.  Firstly a huge thank you to Lynwood Crafts for the nomination to receive a Sunshine Award.  I have just added the badge to my blog and will be posting my twelve choices in the next few days.  Then today I got my first sale on Etsy.  I was very excited as I listed some ribbons and buttons last month, but no sales to date. So I decided to try one of my rings on there on Friday and it sold this afternoon. 

One left on Folksy!

I think I will have to list another this week in case the sales fairy is smiling my way!

Friday, 19 March 2010

Fabric Friday - Orla Kiely

At last it's Fabric Friday, it's seemed like a long week even though I have been very busy cutting fabric and trying to put together some ribbon collections for my Buttons & Bows shop, aswell as all the usual things I have to do! Todays featured designer is Orla Kiely, as promised in my St.Patricks Day post. Everyday I am greeted by the gorgeous stem print that has become synominous with Orla Kiely as many mums in the playground are privilaged to own a handbag from the designer.

The Orla Kiely label was born in the mid 1990's after the designer was commissioned by Harrods to produce a range of hats.  Not a bad start for a young designer who had just produced her finale spot for the graduation catwalk at the Royal College of Art!  In 1997 Orla had her premiere show at London Fashion Week, leading to export sales aswell as launching her diffusion range for Debenhams. The next few years saw Orla expanding her range, designing for the Autograph range for Marks & Spencer, increasing export sales after a show at Paris Fashion Week and moving to a new studio in Battersea.  In 2005 the flagship store opened in Covent Graden, London , aswell as a store in Tokyo.  During this year the Orla Kiely website was launched aswellas a VIP wallpaper range for Habitat and a dedicated design studio opened in Clapham.  Since then Orla has increased her range and further flagship stores opened around the world.

Many people can instantly recognise an Orla Kiely print in its many guises, whether as a handbag, duvet, towel or mug.  Colour and pattern are at the forefront of her designs incorporating a unique scheme of graphic print.  Whilst her range is out of many peoples price brackets, even the fabric range is available at £50 a metre, I have seen the stem print appear in a smaller scale by different designers, including Mingle by Jennifer Moore for Monaluna. Whilst I would adore to own the real mccoy I am perfectly happy to have a yard of Jennifers fabric and rustle up a little tote bag, then I can proudly say I made it!!

Available from Handmade Orla

Available from Sea Breeze Studio

Available from Piddleloop

Mingle by Monaluna
Available from Fabricworm

Tiny Vines by Riley Blake
Available from Cottage Belles Fabric

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Irish Designers

Happy St. Patricks Day to one and all.  Today I will be featuring Irish designers / makers on Folksy and watch out for a special Fabric Friday post about the Irish Designer Orla Keily.

Cute screenprinted tee!
Available fromPapermashyeti

I love these cards and brought this for my daughter last month!
Available from Molly Moo

What a fantastic idea for bunting.
Available from See The Woods

Fabulous decoration for a Paddy's Day celebration.
Available from Sparrow Primitives

Meet Paddy the Owl!
Available from Rainbow Rocks

This made me think of Millionaires Shortbread! (It's soap really)
Available from Saffron Barr

Snow covered beach at Benone Strand on the North Coast of Ireland.
Available from Red Shed Art

I'm a sucker for big beads!
Available from Beadesk

This print would look great in my kitchen.

Well green is my favourite colour.

Gorgeous purse in the classic stem print from Orla Kiely
Available from Pip Designs

As you can see there are some very talented people from the Emerald Isle.
Have a great celebration today!

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Patchwork Quilt

This Saturday sees the opening of the V&A's Quilts 1700-2010 exhibition, including recent works by Tracey Emin and Grayson Perry.  The museum has also comissioned a number of contemporary artists to produce work for this exhibition.  There will be 65 beautiful handcrafted quilts on display, many from the V&A's own collection, dating from 1700.  The museum's shop,  will also be selling precut lengths of fabric, wih a 50cm x 75cm piece starting at £3.50. 

If you are inspired to make your own quilt, Liberty's have also produced a new range of fabrics specifically for patchwork quilts.  This limited edition range can be found at, costing £11.50 per metre.

A patchwork quilt is a labour of love, taking many hours to produce, which makes this beautiful addition to our homes out of our reach because of this very reason.  Yet there are some gorgeous quilts available to purchase, made by crafters / designers who will even accept commissions to ensure you get the design and colours you want.

Available from Handmade by Louisa

Available from Fannie-Lou's

Available from My Sweet Rose

Available from A Lucky Child

Feeling inspired?

Quilt patterns can be found :

'In Stitches' by Amy Butler

Friday, 12 March 2010

Fabric Friday - Clarissa Hulse

It's Fabric Friday hooray!!! The weather maybe miserable but it's Friday and that means I get to indulge in the wonderful world of fabric.  One thing in design that is very important to me is colour and todays featured designer does not shy away from the use of colour.  Clarissa Hulse produces gorgeous prints inspired by nature that are used for various applications.  Aswell as texties Clarissa has a range of wallpaper and her designs have also been used by the likes of WH Smiths for a range of stationary. 

In 1992 Clarissa graduated from Brighton Art College and moved to London to become a freelance textile designer.  By 1994 she had opeed her studio and created a range of scarves, which were soon snapped up by Barneys in New York.  The business grew internationally and in 2000 Clarissa was approached by Liberty's to design a range of scarves as they celebrated their 125th anniversary.  The past decade has seen Clarissa expanding her range, launching her website and suppyling over 100 stores worldwide and collaborating with high street stores for various homeware ranges.

I adore Clarissa's work, gorgeous colourful designs that seem to work for a variety of products.  I also admire the fact that Clarissa combines running a successful design business with motherhood.  Whilst her business was started before her family when so many of us start our businesses to avoid trying to combine the 9-5 with being mummy, Clarissa certainly has not let having young children stall her creative output.  I can only hope to see many more years of designs from Clarissa Hulse.

Coffee Beans Bed Linen

Meadow Silk Dupion Fabric

One of my favourites!

Burnet Briar Lampshade

Cow Parsley Reeds Patchwork Cushion

Tiny Vine Clutch Bag

Visit Clarissa Hulse's website for a great selection of homewares, bags, fabrics & wallpapers.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Knit one, purl one

Continuing with a focus on crafting skills passed down from our mums, todays craft is knitting. It's a long time since I have knitted anything but was recently inspired in the library.  I was looking for books of knits for children for patterns for my mum to knit for my daughters when I came across two great books by Lucinda Guy.  The items in these books were truly lovely and some looked easy enough for a novice like me!  I have yet to try any of these patterns but I plan to. 

Knitting has had a revival, partly due to the number of celebs who have taken up the needles but also I think because it is a skill passed easily from generation to generation.  Both my grandmother and my mum taught me how to knit but sadly is not something I have done in a long time.  Although I did manage to remember how to cast on the other week when my eldest daughter asked to learn. So maybe it's time to dust off my needles and pop to the wool shop.

Another excuse to buy a bag!
For a good selection of knitting bags visit Roseland Bags

Gorgeous hand printed fabric.

Yummy pattern

I would love to be able knit this.

Perfect for storing your latest projects.

Gorgeous pattern

Very cute pattern

My youngest daughter has just seen these aliens & fairy and wants them!

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