Saturday, 11 July 2015

capturing summer- A pressed flower project

 
I wish summers could last forever but they're always too short, so for my latest collaboration with Braintree Clothing I'll be capturing the essence of summer in a pressed flower project.

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I was flicking through a book the other day and out fell pressed pink Rose petals, which instantly took me back to a beautiful garden that I visited a few summers ago. I must have put the petals in the pages of a book I was reading at the time and had forgotten about them, until now.

Pressing flowers is an age old tradition, they are little time capsules capturing summer, a day or a moment.

This is a really simple pressed flower project, creating little studies / memories of each flower. Framed, they make lovely gifts, cards or just hidden away to surprise you another day. 

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You will need:

Selection of flowers, grasses, leaves
Absorbent paper
Watercolour paper
Watercolour paints
Scissors
Pencil
Glue
Needle & thread

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You can press a selection of flowers, petals, leaves, seed heads and grasses.  Make sure they are clean, dry and free from bugs. 
Carefully place a few chosen flowers in between absorbent lined pages of a book. Close the book and add extra weight  by stacking more books on top. It takes about two weeks to press flowers.

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I’ve used A5 water colour paper, but you can use any size you like. Give your paper a light wash of watercolour paint in a colour which will work with your chosen flower. You could also use a tea stain for a vintage look. 

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I like to stitch my flowers on to the paper rather than using glue.  Lay your flowers on to each page and carefully stitch over the stems, just enough to attach it to the paper. Use a piece of tape on the back of each page to fasten off the stitches.
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I’ve glued on little name tags including the Latin names and short descriptions , but you could also add the date and place where you picked the flowers.

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I think they look lovely. I can’t wait to frame them and then in the depths of winter I can remember that captured piece of summer. 
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  found & sewn

Thursday, 25 June 2015

north cornwall coast



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We spent a lovely week in North Cornwall. We were staying in a little converted barn on a small holding near St Agnes. It was right on the coastal path, so we could step out the front door, down a hawthorn track, over the heather covered moors and on to the sea. The Sea was just magical! One of our favourite beaches was called Chapel Porth which also had a friendly cafĂ© serving crab sandwiches and homemade ice creams.

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found & sewn

The coastal path was lined with these pretty pink flowers called Thrift, we walked seven miles to Trevaunance Cove, in St Agnes. which was beautiful.

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We loved lighting this little log burner every evening and cooking dinner as the wind and rain rolled in off the sea.

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St Agnes was a great base to explore North Cornwall. We spent a day in St Ives, visiting the Tate and watching the surfers, lunch at The Fish Kitchen in Port Isaac, fish & chips at the famous Stein's in Padstow, took the ferry to Trelissick house and gardens, walked along the estuary at Crantock and had a picnic on the sand dunes, walked along the coastal path to No4 Peterville and had the most delicious dinner. I've just realised that our holiday mainly consisted of walking and eating...well they are my two favourite things.

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found & sewn

Saturday, 13 June 2015

oxford

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A sunny Sunday afternoon and a quiet meander through some of Oxfords pretty back streets.

I hope you've had a good week and have some nice things planned for the weekend.

A few nice things from my week;

I've been really enjoying the BBC Four series 'what do artist do all day'

Making this delicious Beets and Greens tart from the Green Kitchen Stories website. I can't wait to give this Mocha black bean mousse cake a go, looks delicious!

Gathering bedroom decor inspiration on Pinterest . Here's a snap of a corner of our bedroom so far.

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found and sewn

found and sewn

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found and sewn

found and sewn

Friday, 22 May 2015

tote bag tutorial & a seasonal recipe

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I love shopping at my local farmers market and produce store, so I thought my next sewing tutorial for BraintreeClothing would be a classic tote bag, perfect for filling up with seasonal goodies.

Braintree kindly sent me two lovely striped men's shirts to upcycle into this tote bag. You could of course use any fabrics new or old.

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Materials:
Fabric (I’ve used two different striped linen shirts)
Cotton webbing  (Navy 2 lengths 3 x 122cms)
Cotton thread (cream & navy)
Sewing machine
Scissors
Pins
Tape measure

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How to: 
To start with, cut out your pattern pieces.
You will need two body pieces (pale stripes)  41 x 46cm , two lining pieces
(dark stripes) 41x 46 cm and 2 pocket pieces, 21 .5 x 35 cm.
I've cut my fabric out of two men's shirts, using the front, back panels and sleeves.

Hem the top of the body and lining pieces by folding down the top (short) edge by 2cm, Iron and sew along the top, repeat this with the two pockets.
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Sew on the pockets.
Centre your pockets by Ironing the two body pieces in half lengthways, do the same with the two pockets. Open out  a body piece and lay the pocket  on top, matching up the creases and bottom raw edges.  

Pin and sew on the pocket, leaving the top open. Repeat on the second body piece.

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Sew on the handles.
Take one length of webbing  (122 cm) and with the body piece facing up, align the webbing to the bottom raw edge, keep the webbing straight and cover the pocket seam until you reach the top, pin as you go. At the top make a loop for the handle (40cm appox) making sure you don't twist the webbing, carry on down the other side to the bottom raw edge.

With everything in place sew around all sides of the webbing attaching it to the fabric.
Repeat on the second body piece.

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Sew the bag together.
With the body pieces face to face, match up the handles and the edges, pin it all together and sew around the three raw edges.  
Turn inside out and with an iron press sides and corners.

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Lining
Put the two lining pieces face to face, neat hem at the top. Pin and sew around the raw edges.
(Do not turn out.) Insert the lining in to the bag, matching up the side seams, to attach the lining pin along the top and sew around the opening.

Give your new tote a press and you're ready to shop...

Remember to share any of your makes with us by uploading your images to Instagram including the hashtag #BThoughtful_Makes
 
 

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This is 2 North Parade Produce Store in Oxford. Co-owned by my boyfriend Pete.
 'We work closely with local farmers, producers and suppliers who focus on the quality, integrity and provenance of their produce. Giving the customer the fresh taste of every season and the best artisan foods for your table'

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I asked Pete to share his favourite seasonal recipe..

At the moment it's the asparagus season, we have freshly picked local asparagus delivered to the shop every morning, it's fresh, delicious and makes a great, quick, seasonal supper.

There are so many great ways to eat asparagus; with homemade hollandaise, butter and lemon, in a risotto, tossed in a mixed salad with mozzarella, but my favourite is the fresh, rich, salty contrast of asparagus, eggs and bacon.

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Asparagus soldiers with soft boiled eggs.

You will need:
12 medium asparagus stalks, woody ends removed
12 slices of thinly sliced pancetta or bacon
olive oil
free range eggs
sea salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 220C. Wrap your asparagus stalks in the pancetta (or bacon) with the tips poking out, and place in a roasting pan. Drizzle with a little olive oil and roast in the oven for 10 mins, until crispy.

While the asparagus is cooking, Carefully place the eggs into lightly salted boiling water, for 5 minutes, drain, cut off the lids and put them in egg cups. 
Serve with a good pinch of salt and pepper.

Dunk your asparagus soldiers into the soft egg and enjoy.

Friday, 1 May 2015

walk

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Happy May Day everyone! Such a lovely time of year. One past traditional May Day event I love is that people would get up before sunrise in order to gather flowers and greenery to decorate their houses and villages, in the belief that the vegetation spirits would bring good fortune. 
I have some apple blossom and lilac which I'm hoping will do the trick.

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We went on such a beautiful walk the other day, the weather was just perfect.
Down old farm tracks, over wooden stiles, across fields, though pretty villages, into cool musty churches. Hawthorn bushes in flower, lining the way and swathes of wild garlic. We stopped by this lovely stone wall, where the grass was covered in primroses, dandelions and forget-me -nots. It was a buzz with bees and hoverflies. 

I love a nice walk, to slow everything down, to forget about those 'to do' lists and just enjoy the moment. Taking time to notice all the little details of the day. 

Do you have any favourite walks near to where you live? 

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Thursday, 23 April 2015

spring calm

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A few snaps of the little things that have made me happy and content lately....

Beautiful delicate blossom trees in full bloom, now dropping like confetti on the ground.

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Having an unexpected Saturday off work and deciding to spend the afternoon making Liberty print cushions listening to radio 4... I'm a complete granny at heart!  I made a cushion in this fabric for the bedroom, which I love.

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Picking the last few Hyacinth from the garden, which smell delicious. Now the tulips, muscari and forget me nots are taking their place.

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Spending time pottering around in my sewing room. The view from the window overlooks a farm, fields with horses, a donkey and apple trees, I waste a lot of time just staring out of that window.

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A moment of calm to read the ever inspiring 'Cereal' (which I actually bought for my boyfriend) with a herbal tea and the most amazing dark chocolate from our recent trip to London .

What little things have made you happy this week?