Thursday, 31 January 2013

a new craft: quilt making

one of the goals i added to my 2013 list is to make my first quilt. i still can't quite forget about the logistics of putting one together in a small flat, but for now i've decided to just go for it and see where i end up.
i have borrowed a book from my boss, and my work colleague came in last week with her quilt (a life quilt that she has been working on since she was 14! it's amazing) to give me a boost. 

i love the idea of a work-in-progress quilt, but i know that i'm too impatient and i'd love to have a finished quilt by the end of the year. i also love the hundreds of designs, patterns and techniques you can put into a quilt, though simplicity is going to be the key... for now at least. 
i also know that i want to use as much of my fabric stash as possible, so i spent last weekend cutting out strips from what i have (i made some templates first, i'm not that impatient!) which means that my quilt is going to be pretty scrappy, which is actually just how i want it to be.

so, i'd love to know if you've made a quilt before, or make them regularly! if you have any links, or stories, or tips etc., then please let me know. this is a totally new craft for me, and whilst i will undoubtably keep elements of my "do now think later" craft-itude in there, i also want to make this a really special quilt so i want to play by the rules for the most part.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

chocolate chip cookies


when erin tweeted the other day asking for a gluten free cookie recipe, i realised that this recipe had somehow missed a show and tell on the blog.  
i'm not quite sure why, as these are some of the best cookies i have ever made (& i can say that with pride after years of so many baking fails!) 

ingredients:
225g self-raising flour (again, doves farm is my go-to)
100g light brown sugar
125g caster sugar
125g softened butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
200g chocolate chip cookies

unfortunately i have no step-by-steps for these as my kitchen lighting is beyond help, but as always, the recipe is super simple. 

to make: 
preheat oven to 180° and line a few baking trays with baking paper.
cream the butter and sugars together, and once creamed combine in the egg and vanilla. 
sift in the flour and salt, and then the chocolate chips. 
roll into walnut sized balls (or 1tbsp approx.) and place onto the baking trays. 
bake for 10 minutes- go for a minute less if you like your cookies super gooey, or a minute longer for a slightly firmer cookie. 

depending on the size you roll out your cookies, you can get anything from 16-22 cookies from this mixture; though be warned, they are really really moreish!






Sunday, 27 January 2013

my filofax week #4

i'm so glad that it's february next week! i know everyone says it, but january really does drag.
i've had a lot of to-do's this week, and despite being shattered from work i've had a good few hours of jotting down things i want to do as well. hopefully i'll be posting about some of those ideas soon enough.

this evening is going to be all about reading (currently the virgin suicides), getting back into watching mad men, and some play time with pixel- who is currently being taught to sit by j! 

i also just wanted to say a little thank you to everyone who reads and comments here; this week i noticed that there are 400 of you lovely readers which is totally crazy! i absolutely love hearing from you all- your comments really make my day so thank you :)

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

UP

the cross stitch experiment that i was working on last week quickly became part of my evening routine, and before i knew it i was finished! like i said, i wanted to make something super bright and inspiring, and this quote from 'up' seemed perfect. i'm telling you, that film is jam packed with amazing little quotes (another one being: "that might sound boring, but i think the boring stuff is the stuff i remember the most"). 

i put together the design in photoshop, and then used this website (which is awesome) to convert the image into a chart. i know i've said it before, but cross stitch really is up there as one of the most therapeutic activities for me.

this little piece now hangs on the wall in my lounge, and has not only eased me back into making, but also makes me smile every time i walk past it :) 


Sunday, 20 January 2013

my filofax week #3

a pretty quiet week made all the more cheerful by the cute little mole card that was in my lunch snack (these if you were wondering!).

i haven't been for my weekly run this week as i've had a pretty rubbish cold, but hopefully will start back up again next week. if you're a regular runner, when do you go? i'm trying to go in the mornings on my days off, but i'm working full time next week so will have to go at the weekend. i wish i could be an evening runner and go after work, but i just don't have the energy by that point! 

Thursday, 17 January 2013

colour

after my post last week about ways to pull myself out of a creative slump, i've tried to immerse myself in super brightly coloured little projects. 
i'm working on a few little things that are all experiments; that way i'm not putting any pressure on myself but am still keeping my little craft habit alive. 
i love the feeling of a new project- the cross stitch above i've totally made up, so if it works out then i'll be so chuffed! if not, then it's definitely been therapeutic.
 
i'm not sure i have talked about my (absolutely insane) christmas present from j, but i am incredibly lucky to now own an ipad mini. i absolutely adore it and use it all the time- i've even blogged on it which is pretty cool. 
anyway, the case i made for it also keeps in theme with surrounding myself with brightly coloured objects. the fabric was a remnant piece from an old kit we sold at work, with a blue and white gingham piece for the lining- i adore it! i actually have a teeny piece leftover, so maybe i'll make a little purse to go with it :)

Sunday, 13 January 2013

my filofax weeks #1 & #2

angela over at "paper lovestory" has started a new feature over on her blog based on her 'my filofax week' posts. every week she posts a photo of her (super colourful) week in her diary, and has asked other bloggers to join in the challenge.
as i'm trying to make as much use as possible from my filofax, i thought this was a pretty neat idea- and also a little excuse to keep my diary nice and cheerful!

i totally forgot to post last week, so here are my weeks one and two.

i bought the paperchase 2013 diary, but i think i'm gonna buy the whsmith one this week as the layout looks so much better. i use a 4 way colour pen to colour code (anyone know of a really thin one that will fit in the pen loop?!) and then just a ton of sticky notes dotted around the place! i made my first washi tapes purchase last week, so maybe i'll try to use those in there too.

i'm gonna try to keep this up for the whole year, and hopefully it'll be a little push to keep me on top of things. if you're taking part in this challenge then let me know- i love seeing how other people use their diaries :)

 

Wednesday, 9 January 2013


over the last few days i've felt a little blue. i have no definable reason for this, so am passing the blame onto those cliched "january blues", but it's been a bit rubbish none the less.
after a little catch up with lauren this week, she's given me some advice and a little push, so i've decided to have a bit of a ramble- please bear with me!

i am a crafter. fact. i keep miscellaneous items that others would discard in favour of a diy, i spent four years studying design and now work for a craft company, and so much of my everyday life revolves around crafting, making, creating, diy-ing, all of it.

however, creative blocks happen. everyone has them, i know that. they used to drive me up the wall at uni, and still drive me mad now. they can be the most frustrating things to deal with; especially when this blog mainly revolves around my creativity.
as my blog has developed it has definitely found its way into the "diy/craft" category, and this is something i'm so proud of. i love being able to share my diy's and makes with you all, and the fact that so many of you read and comment and take an interest in them is awesome- it's the best feeling!
but right now, and occasionally, i don't want to create. everything i draw, or make, goes wrong and i feel frustrated and pretty darn crap!

so, i've spent some time trying to figuring out what helps me out of these blocks, and thought i'd share what i've learnt with you all.

1. turn off your computer/laptop/phone etc.- i know this might seem obvious, but there is nothing more refreshing than isolating yourself from the internet for a while.

2. watch your favourite film- whether it's an arty film, a film that makes you feel good, or just a classic (harry potter for me obvs.) get lost in the story for a few hours!

3. look back through your favourite photos/diy's/letters -last year i made this memory book which is a collection of cards, postcards, gig tickets and other memorabilia that i've put together as a book. it never fails to make me feel better reading lovely things from lovely people.

4. challenge yourself- learn a new skill that you've always wanted to, or push yourself outside of your comfort zone- one of my little goals for myself is to start running properly once a week and i'm hoping this will give me some head space as well as being good for my health.

5. organise- i spent a few hours re-organising my filofax last weekend and my head definitely felt clearer. i know not everyone works in the same way, so find a method that you can make the most of, whether it's a pen and paper diary, your phone calendar or just post-it notes. i also de-cluttered my work space which is always refreshing and can also remind you of all the materials you have!

6. have a big old chin wag- there is nothing like a good catch up and chatting away about anything and everything, and it's especially good to have a fellow blogger to talk to- thank you lauren :)

do you ever feel like this? and how do you get yourself out of these little blocks? i'd love to hear how you all rejuvenate yourselves at times like these; i might have to put together a nice big mood board of helpful tips and tricks!

image via pinterest

Sunday, 6 January 2013

books to read: 2013

firstly, a very happy new year to everyone- i hope you all have an amazing 2013 and are enjoying it so far :)
i've had a hectic week since seeing in the new year, but have been thriving on having a huge clear out, re-organising the flat (& my filofax -again- whoops!) and making lots of plans for the year.

one of the things i'm excited about for this year is to really get back into reading. last year i signed up to goodreads (find me here) and have recently been trying to get into the habit of using it more often. i only set myself a challenge of 15 books to read in 2012 and only managed 11, so this year i've decided to up my game a little.




20 books might not seem like a lot to read in a year, but i thought i'd keep it realistic to start with (i hate new years resolutions that put pressure on you!). i was lucky enough to receive all of these books for christmas so i have no excuses not to get into this challenge. i've started off with the secret life of bees and so far am loving it.



i'd love to know who else uses goodreads and whether you've set yourself a challenge; also, if you have any book recommendations for me then i'd love to hear them :)