This afternoon I washed my Wedding dress..

Sunday 29 September 2013
Washing Silk isn't scary!!

This afternoon, after three years I decided to take the plunge and wash my handmade silk Wedding dress. After getting crazy quotes to have it professionally dry cleaned (as it was handmade and didn't have a care label) ,I got out my old text books from my textile classes and washed it my dress.

I have to say that it took Mum and I hours to make and embroider but it was a risk we pulled off and this is how I did it.

  • First of all I filled the bath in warm water and added hand wash detergent.

  • I laid the dress in the water and left it for ten minutes.

  • Then I carefully rubbed the dirt and left it again for a few minutes.

  • After a few more rubs I emptied the dirty water and filled up the bath again with cold water.

  • After a rinse I took my very heavy Wedding dress and rolled it in a beach towel and ran downstairs to put it on the washing line.

  • On the line, I resized it by stretching the silk so it retained the original shape. Silk is tough so it took the shape perfectly.

The dress was on the line for three hours and then finished off drying on the curtain rail in my bedroom before a press.

As my Mum says it's Indian silk, so it's a tough fabric. And I saved over £100 on dry cleaning. It worked for me!


My Birthday Italian Cook Fest...

Ciao! Last week it was my birthday and with all the celebrations I have been away from my computer. I have to say, and I say this every birthday, I feel sooo lucky to have a great family and friends around me.

Now that we have our little L going out for dinner is tricky, and after all I wanted to share my birthday with friends and family old and new. So on my birthday I put one hour aside in the morning and one at night to bring my love of Italy into our home.

Three years ago we were on holiday in Italy for my birthday and learnt how to make pizza and pasta the Italian way on a gorgeous rustic farm. So this is a nice way of celebrating what we had learnt and brush up on my pasta making skills!

Since that lovely holiday in Italy, I have invested in a few Italian cookery staples. Which are ...

1.  Gino D'acampo's Pasta book, the recipes are so straight forward, lots of foodie pictures and some great advice. I have learnt that pasta is easy to make and sauces can be a few simple ingredients to rustle up something magic 

2. Pasta Machine, by Imperia. It looks fancy but once you have got used to fastening it to a surface and getting the handle on correctly (maybe that is just me!) it works like a dream. Mine comes with a spaghetti attachment like the model below. You just slide this onto the top of the machine add in the handle and your pasta sheets are just spaghetti-fied if by magic.
Buy Imperia Pasta Machine Online at
3. Pasta Drying Rack. When I looked at this, I thought what!!! When we learnt to make pasta in the Tuscan countryside it was warm and the pasta when rolled dried out easily. But in the UK you cannot do this, so we invested in this rack to dry out your pasta. It means it cooks better and avoids the soap like mess in your pan.
Buy John Lewis Wooden Pasta Stand Online at
It may look like you have spent about £100 on pasta making equipment and to buy a pack in the supermarket costs less than £1. But I would say that this is so worth it for the satisfaction of making your own. I have to say it tastes so much better than shop bought, it takes a few minutes to cook and the pleasure of making pasta yourself (if you love to cook) is a great feeling. I love it and it is pretty impressive.

So, I made my family pasta and focaccia ( an Italian bread) with roasted vegetables. I have to say, I really enjoyed it. I do have a confession that my camera battery ran out before the meal but I took these pictures when making dinner and loved it.

And for pudding some birthday cupcakes in gold foils.

Happy birthday to me,


Monday Moods Pretty China Cups

Monday 23 September 2013
Inspired by the last of the Garden Flowers...

Before we start to look ahead to October and November I wanted to celebrate the last flowers of the Summer. I took these pictures of my new Burleigh pretty cups in the garden with some of the beautiful Melissa and Lavatera.

I love the blue and white designs you get on Burleigh as they are so distinctive and pretty.

I hope that my collection will grow..what next to collect? Maybe some little Christmas plates?

Happy Monday,

The Melbourne Festival Art Trial 2013

Saturday 21 September 2013
Some of the pretty properties in Melbourne, Derbyshire and artwork by Ronald Pope.
Last Sunday I was lucky enough to spend the day at the Melbourne Art & Architecture Trial in South Derbyshire. Having no idea if the rain would hold off, I went in the morning to spend a few hours there with Little L.

I realised that the festival, all held in beautiful properties in the village was so different to last year and with the good weather holding the rain away I phoned Mr.S to come and join us. We live about twenty minutes away.

The artwork varied from large canvases to small bespoke silver pieces. Having a small child with you meant that I couldn't spend much time taking photos or chatting. I would have loved more shabby chic and textiles though but it was a great inspirational day!

I have included a picture of the late Ronald Pope a great artist I knew in the village - never forgotten.

Samantha x

Folky Hearts

This week I have been making these folky hearts in preparation for Christmas. Using golds, reds and creams they combine thread work, hand painting and of course vintage buttons!

All the little hearts have a tag printed on a vintage typewriter. I love that they have a bespoke quality about them.

Today I listed them on my Etsy shop it is still a young site but I am growing slowly.

As a thank-you and because it's my birthday this week and I want to celebrate, enter the code 'SEPTEMBER9' to get free shipping! T&C's apply. Check out my store for further details!

Have a great weekend,

Fancy a Crafternoon Tea in Derbyshire?

Saturday 14 September 2013
Craft + afternoon tea,how lovely. This week I have put a call out for any local teashops, coffee houses or creative spaces to get in touch to launch some yummy crafternooners in Derbyshire*.

Make and craft something in one afternoon in gorgeous surroundings and have delicious tea and cakes served to you as part of the occasion.

Coming soon...

If you want to get in touch about crafternoon tea's I would love to hear from you. 

I also run parties (hen, birthday etc)on the same theme. What lady wouldn't love to make something bespoke and unique. Learn a new skill and have fun with friends old and new?

Details to follow...
Happy Weekend,


*Also Nottingham, Staffordshire and Leicestershire included!

My Food Snapping On Instagram!

Good morning! I have just been looking through my Instagram feed and my I take a lot of pictures of food!!!

I think I am a frustrated chef waiting to run my own restaurant or something.. Here are a few of my pictures and the stories behind them...

Saute leeks and onions for an easy midweek dinner. Most of our midweek dinners start this way. Start with a few simple ingredients and then it turns into a spag bol, chilli, stir fry, risotto... I have a mantra - 30 minute dinners. Start them whilst L is getting a bath and finish when this is in bed at about 8pm ish.
For a family Summer party, I needed some really quick bites. I give you olive pesto breads. They went under the grill for a few minutes drizzled with olive oil and served with black pepper. Yum!
For the same party, I made up a stack of pastry and then made some little simple tartes with the same thirty pesto (see first post from last yr!) and sun-blushed tomatoes. Pop in the oven for 20 minutes (180C) and serve hot or cold.
These are some firey little green chillis given to me from my neighbour. How perfect are they for home-grown?

And finally... I was given a mini chalk board for my daughter but could not resist chalking it up. Just like I used to do in my waitress days - all those years ago when I was a student. I am looking forward a new kitchen soon, it is being designed by us at the moment. The grey work tops are going and so are the white tiles. More details on our lush new kitchen to follow...

Enjoy your weekend of food, snapping and Instagram, 

Born In Derby Hearts

Wednesday 11 September 2013

I have had a busy week, last week I was over at the Royal Derby Hospital merchandising all the beautiful pieces for sale in the Banks Mill Shop.

I have to say the standard is really high and the work is varied to give so much choice.

I have for sale some of my new baby keepsakes, 'Born In Derby', bespoke canvases and cards. A percentage of the sales goes back to the hospital to support the great job it does.

So, if you have an appointment at clinic coming up, drop by and say 'hello', we are next to Costa in the Kings Treatment Centre.

See you later in the week,

Workshops at Banks Mill Studios, Derby

Getting Crafty for Christmas...

Stitch And Sew A Bespoke Canvas Workshop
 If you follow me on facebook you would of seen my posts about my new workshops at Banks Mill Studios in Derby. I am really excited to be running courses using vintage style haberdashery to make bespoke pieces.

The space at Banks Mill is fab, is a ground floor workshop. It's light and airy as the building still has the old mill windows, so making the most of natural light.

The two courses are designed to make the most of pre-loved, vintage and vintage style haberdashery so the crafters can create their own unique pieces. We use upcycled, sourced and freshly cleaned haberdashery which is ready to be loved again in a new exciting design.

Create Upcycled Vintage Accessories
For more information workshops see below. All workshops have tea and homemade cake served throughout! -

Craft A Vintage Upcycled Accessory

Cost: £25

Dates: Saturday 16 November 12.30pm – 3.30pm; Friday, 6 December 9.30am-12.30pm

Stitch And Sew A Bespoke Canvas

Cost £25

Saturday 7th December 12.30pm – 3.30pm

Spaces are limited.

Happy Crafting,

P.S.Do you know I also do craft parties? Contact me for more details.

Vintage Red Button Cards

Thursday 5 September 2013
Easy ways to upcycle that old button box.

I was lucky to track down a stash of buttons a few weeks ago which I wrote about in this post . Since then I have sorted out the colours that I know I will use; reds, blues, blacks etc and put them all in glass jars.

These cards were made for a Wedding anniversary and Birthdays for little girls. All cards were planned first of all to make sure the buttons fitted the space! Sounds simple enough but it does need planning out.

I laid out the buttons and then in soft pencil drew a rough boundary. Then I laid out the buttons and stuck them down using jewellery making glue (epoxy resin - never fails!)

A simple 3 for a 3rd birthday

A trio of buttons for a little girl's birthday card

A variety of similar sized buttons for a Wedding Anniversary heart design.
I have to say that I have enjoyed making every card ... and in red as well!

Let me see what I can make with my blue button jar next?

Happy Crafting,

Blackberry Shorties

Tuesday 3 September 2013
    With this season's blackberries growing big and juicy.
 I created these moreish shortbreads. Great to make with little ones. The fun bit is folding the blackberries in the middle and giving them a good squish!

We have been blackberry picking more times this Autumn than any previous Autumn and it's only the 3rd September. I have a lot of blackberries in the house and making jam seems like a lot of work. 

   This recipe is great for kids as they are not too sweet, they can also be frozen or stored for up to a week in an air tight tin.

Let's Create!

You will need -

85 grams unsalted butter
2cm vanilla pod
1 large egg
200 grams self raising flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
100 grams caster sugar
200 grams blackberries

Makes 20 shorties.

Turn the oven onto 180C or similar and let's begin!

Method -

1. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

2. Beat in the egg.

3. Cut open the vanilla pod and with a sharp knife scrap out the seeds. Add the butter mixture.

4. Sift the flour and self raising flour together and fold into the mixture.

5. Now this is the fun part, flour your surface and roll out the mixture until about 2cm thick. Spread the fruit on half of the dough and then fold the other half it. Roll with the rolling pin to squash the fruit into the dough

6. Cut out your shorties with a small cutter to be about 3cm high. They will rise.

7. Cover two baking sheets with baking parchment and add 10 to each tray.

8. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Leave to cool as the fruit can be hot, hot,hot! Dust with icing sugar and enjoy.

Love to hear any other Autumn recipes for blackberries as I want to write more about these lovely seasonal fruits...before my little one eats them all.

Happy picking,