Missing Cornwall

Saturday 22 June 2013
Off line for a bit...
Happy Days in Cornwall

This week some of my family are in Cornwall , well Penance to be exact. I am missing both. So today I have been flicking through my old photo's of our last holiday with my late Dad. He loved the area around Penzance so much and a visit always fills me with lovely memories. We loved the relaxed way of life, the sea air and the countryside. It does feel like you are at the end of the country, far away from city life.

So we named our little girl Lamorna after a valley four miles south of Penzance where the artists in the late nineteen century flocked to for the beautiful natural light. My childhood memories can live on with Lamorna being named after such a beautiful place.

Last week a film opened at the box office set in Lamorna about the Lamorna artist set called Summer in February . Hopefully, I will get a chance to catch it and inspire us to visit Cornwall and Lamorna later on this year.

Summer in February poster.jpg

My Lamorna colouring in last week...

Lamorna making Father's Day cards last week

Off to plan another trip,

SS x

My DIY Wedding

Monday 17 June 2013

6 months to prepare for 1 lovely Wedding day!

My hints and tips on surviving your crafty Wedding -

1. Plan and go for it!
Whatever your crafty ideas are for your big day. Plan and prepare and then go with a gut reaction. Believe in yourself. If you want a theme or a look, research the easiest and quickest way to do it and then settle down to repeat it again and again. Better to have a simple, crafty idea then fail on something fancy.

2. What is your theme?
When you have your theme, plan it out on mood boards so you can show your suppliers / friends / photographer your ideas. Try using pinterest for a general mood board then break down some bigger ideas onto separate boards e.g. cake, flowers, dress. Don't go over the top, as they say... a picture can tell a thousand words.



3. Find your suppliers early...
Work out what you want to do to make your day bespoke and made by you. Then find out from your mood boards where you need to source the supplies from. You might want vintage china plates, but running around charity stores every Saturday may not be a good use of time. You might want to use a vintage crockery rental and spend more time designing your flowers or dress?

4. Get some help?
Even if you think you are the Queen of Craft, you will need help. I had one helper for each big thing e.g. cake, dress, flowers, venue staging. Friends will want to help, be ruthless and use those who will listen and support, not those who want to go off brief and do their own thing. It is your day, you can say no! Those that you have asked will be honoured and sure to support your dreams!

5. Get used to repeating your craft again and again.
As I mentioned earlier about starting out and keeping it simple - stick to it. When you are hand making the 100th dinner place setting you will be thankful.

6. Look further a field of inspiration..
I used Martha Stewart Weddings website and magazines a lot. Really practical and inspiring. I was in L.A. three months before our Wedding and brought a stash of wedding titles back. Look outside what is happening in your own country as they maybe a trend you love which is not on your local radar. Spend a night on the web and you might come across a theme or a look you can re-invent for you own Wedding.

7. Budget and use a spreadsheet!
I know it sounds geeky but note down all your planned budget on a planner and then update the costs as and when. Your crafty Wedding may not be a budget Wedding if you are crafting to save money. For our Wedding, I made my Wedding dress with a lot of help from Mum. It was our biggest money saver and the dress was worth every penny. I did spend more time than planned sewing on pearls to the bodice but the time and cost were justified. If you find your time and costs are spiralling look at doing something another way. You will hate it in the end and it will reflect on your big day.

8. Use a good hand cream
Sounds crazy but after months of crafting your hands will say you are a Wedding crafter on your big day without you saying anything. I got around this by sleeping in hand scrub and gloves the week before I go married!
I did my bouquet and table decorations on the morning of the Wedding and knew my hands would take a bashing so I wore gloves. I also went for a nude nail polish in case it chipped and kept my nails short. Try a shea butter or cocoa butter hand cream and apply regularly. Use a hand mask at night to hide your secret!

9. Get support
There are loads of Wedding blogs you can read for support and chats you can join online. I did feel like the only Crafting Wedding out there to start with but once I found fellow crafters online it made it so much easier. Remember it's not a competition, it is your day and do it your way.

10. Relax!
   I was amazed that a few days before our Wedding everything seems quiet, that was because it was all done except the last minute flowers, staging and hair. The dress and fascinator were ready, everything was ordered /paid for. This gave me a few days of the week of our Wedding to relax and enjoy being a Bride -to-be.

I hope that this is useful and the feeling you get from being a crafty bride is amazing.

Happy to answer any questions....

SS xx

Life in a Break Down

Vintage Effect Cards...

If you are like me and have sequins in your sewing box and want to do something different with them, then why not use them on a card.

You will need -

pearlescent card
pearlescent sequins
glue gun
acrylic paint
painting brushes
gold pen

Let's Create ...

1. Decide what your shape is, mine was a 'six' as we have been together for six years. Yours might be a heart or a letter or two.
Sketch this roughly on your paper.

2. Using your glue gun, you need to quickly stick on the sequins, filling the gaps with smaller ones.

3. Once your shape is sequined up, then take your paint and add a layer of paint over the top.

4. I then added a wash and gold pen around the shape.

5. If you want to add some wording to the card front.

It's a really vintage texture to add to wedding invites, anniversary cards and framed monograms.

Try the technique out and let me know what you make..

SS x

Almond Shortbreads

Sunday 16 June 2013
Perfect for afternoon tea

Almond shortbreads with raspberries and ice-cream
To celebrate Father's Day, I baked (with some help with Little L) some light, fluffy almond shortbreads. Mr S loves almond biscuits, the type you get with your coffee at the coffee shop. It was the perfect excuse to put the oven on and bake.
They take only 20 minutes from start to finish and can be eaten warm out of the oven or can be stored in an air tight container for a few days. Lovely.
Let's Create!
Makes approx. 20 biscuits
You Will Need -
100 grams caster sugar
1 large egg
190 grams pasta 00 flour
10 grams ground almond
1 teaspoon almond essence
Half teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
90 grams unsalted butter
Before you get started, heat the oven to 180C or equivalent, line two swiss roll trays with baking paper.
1. Beat together the sugar and butter until fluffy.
2. Add the egg and beat into the mixture. Add the almond essence and stir.
3. Mix the flour, baking powder and ground almonds together in a bowl.
4. Sift in the dry ingredients and fold in.
5. Mix to form a loose dough and turn out onto a floured board.
6. Roll out until 2cm thick. Cut out with your choice of cutter.
7. Place on baking paper lined swiss roll trays with a few centimetres gap. They will rise.
8. Bake for 10 minutes until they are golden.
9. Place on a wire rack to cool.
Enjoy with raspberries, ice-cream and a sprinkle of good quality cocoa.
SS x

Fathers Day Cards 2012

Making & Crafting For Grampy...

I love this card that I made with Little L for Grandad aka Grampy. It is really rewarding to take time out to create something so unique and sentimental. We stuck on stickers, she scribbled on most of he card and we posted it off to Grampy for his Fathers Day.

We got the call to say thank-you, very touched so I thought I would share our artwork with you. Sometimes something small can mean so much.

Well done Little L,


Creative Lifestyle Photography

Wednesday 12 June 2013
Bringing products to life...

Close up atmospheric of stitching to show it's handmade.
Yesterday I went on a course to understand a bit more about great product photography and how to use your camera. If you are like me and want to get the best out of your website and blog these types of courses are a must. The money is well worth it and I haven't been paid to say that! I hope you will see an improvement in my content from now on...

It gave me a real understanding of product / lifestyle photography, setting up moods and creating great shots. I learned a lot and met some inspiring people.

I learnt some simple tricks, like painting an odd bit of board as a backdrop or using a piece of fabric held behind a product.

Now I am practising at home on anything, I get 5 mins and I am stylising a little product set up in my kitchen.

I'll let you know how I get on in later posts...
Using lines to add angles and dimensions to paper craft

Happy Snapping,

SS x

#MondayMoods Italian Foodie!

Monday 10 June 2013

My Growing Italian Cupboard...


Starting to get a bit of a collection in my kitchen of these fab bottles and tins from my travels in Italy. They seem to tell a story of where they have come from, who made them and a bit about the area. I feel enriched by the pictures and stories on the labels as I cook...imagining I am in that little hillside town on a Summer's day...just for a while when dinner is cooking..

Will keep building on my quirky collection as it's just so inspirational on my kitchen shelf.

SS x

Some Of My Sewing Essentials

Friday 7 June 2013

What I cannot do without...

I love sewing and using fabrics in my crafts as you can see from my blog, especially old upcycled fabrics. I have to have some sewing box essentials to make sure I get the most out of my work! How annoying when you go for a tube of glue or a thread and it's missing or you use a poor quality thread and after one wash it breaks.

I have not been paid for these posts, they are my views and each product is worthy of a space in my sewing stash!

So here are my top 5 in no order...

 Quality Stitching Threads 

When you spend hours and hours on a beautiful embroidery you want it to wash, the colour not to fade and for your work to last. I always spend a bit more and I think it is worth it. Cheap embroidery threads go all fluffy and the colour fades while you are using them. I have had it that as you work the thread the colour comes off on your hands, the fabric and I feel like it has been a waste of time. Lesson learnt.

Orange Handled Scissors
I was bought my first oranged handle scissors when I was young and when I was a little I could never use my Mother's! She really looked after them. They last and the investment means you won't need to sharpen them for years.
Good Quality Needles & Embroidery Accessories 
It is so annoying when your needle snaps, bends or the eye breaks. (Yes, that does happen!) So I spend a little bit more to get good quality needles and whilst you are at it, treat yourself to something pretty for your sewing box a thimble, some little scissors.. go on! Think of all the money you saved on the buying something ready made?

High Quality Glue

If I am making fabric accessories or sticking crystals on bags or headbands,I would use a glue with a precision applicator and a quick setting time. I hate glue all over my beads, crystal or felt flowers. It also dries like a rock so you can trust it.

Sewing Threads 

On basic colours, I buy big reels as you will get value for money. Colours like black, white and cream will never go out of fashion! Choose a brand you love and I would say stick to it and you will get to know the numbers and types of threads in the range. Stitching threads, quilting threads etc, the colours of the reels and then they are easy to find in your sewing box. Sound crazy but when you are after black top stitch thread if you know you are looking for a red reel makes it quicker.
Sometimes they offer collectors issues such as these retro tins. I collect them and keep needles and chalks in them.

So these are my essentials. 

What are yours?

Happy Stitching,


Guest Post Hannah Blythin

Welcoming Hannah Blythin...

guest posting with her sewing shopper tutorial...

This week I have been very fortunate to have Hannah Philpott as a guest blogger this week. Hannah's tutorial on her beautiful flower arrangement shopping bag inspires you to take on a stitching project this weekend.

 Over on Hannah's blog hannahphilpott.wordpress.com  you will be inspired to 'Make, upcycle, thrift. Learn something new as often as possible. Never spend more than you have to.'

That sounds like a must read if you love baking, thrifty finds and sewing. So over to Hannah ..

 Flower Arrangement Shopper

I’ve been struggling to decide what I was going to do for my first guest post. All my inspiration had dried up. So I turned to a lovely book for some ideas. I got The Gentle Art of Stitching by Jane Brocket for Christmas and I absolutely love it. It has got lots of pretty hand stitching projects with beautiful pictures to get the creative juices flowing.

I had a flick through and found some very simple fabric flower arrangements using scraps of fabric. So I decided to give it a go.

I started by raiding my fabric box. I try never to buy fabric as it is so expensive, so use old clothing and fabrics from bedding and curtains. Really whatever I can get my hands on. I found an old dress that I wore when I was pregnant with both my children. It was a bold flower print, with lots of bright colours. So I got snipping, cutting out some of the boldest flowers. I wasn’t too precious about how I cut them out as I wanted it to look fairly organic. I found a piece of yellow gingham which I decided to use for the vase. Once I had cut out and chosen all my pieces, I arranged them onto a piece of pink fabric and pinned them.

I used some very simple running stitches and blanket stitches to attach the flowers and vase to the fabric.

When I stood back I realised that it needed something extra, so I added a couple of Suffolk puffs to the arrangement, plus a few buttons and a scrap of ribbon to decorate the vase. This added a further element to texture and depth to the arrangement.


A little tip for stopping your ribbon from fraying at the ends is to very carefully waft a flame from a lighter or match at the ends and this will meld the fibres together.

Jane Brocket frames her flower arrangements but I wanted to make something a little more useful with mine, so I decided to use it to decorate a shopper.

Rummaging around in my fabric box again I found some fab stripy fabric from Ikea that was left over from some blinds I had made last year. I roughly zig zag stitched my arrangement onto the front bag panel and then assembled it all. And this is how it came out!

I am making all of my birthday and Christmas presents this year, so I think that this will be going in my pressie pile.

Thank-you Hannah. You can follow Hannah on Twitter @MrsBlythinMakes