My trip to Kirsty Allsopp’s The Handmade Fair

I have always wanted to go to this and finally a surprise birthday pressie made it happen – tickets to the Handmade Fair in Bowood House in Wiltshire!  We headed off in June, flew into Bristol and stayed in a lovely holiday lodge in Somerset called Bath Mill Lodge Retreat  for the duration of this little visit.  It was self catering but there was a restaurant & bar on site.  The little cabins were lovely and really clean and airy.  The restaurant was only ok, food wise, the grounds were lovely and you could walk around them, really well maintained and clean.

We attended the fair on the Friday and I wasn’t sure what to expect, to be honest.  It was full of tents with different things going on, like workshops & shows & a VIP area.  I didn’t book any workshops, as I didn’t want to be tied down, as i only had one day there.  The weather was glorious, so lots of people sitting out and enjoying the sun.

 

There was lots of catering vans and a good variety of them. This made me laugh, how times have changed, the queue to eat leaves and shoots was very long, they must have been very tasty!

The tent with all the stall holders was very busy.  When I went in, it was stiflingly hot, I don’t know how they stuck it, to be honest.  I bought a few goodies of course and shared on my insta stories.  My favourite stall was priormade and the lady there was a just lovely, her work was right up my street and I bought a lovely geometric cactus pot made from reclaimed wood, she also had a range of wooden jewellery and again all made from reclaimed pieces.

Here’s a few more pictures I took throughout the day.

 

As we were on the grounds, we decided on a quick visit into Bowood House would be nice, beautiful house and such lush gardens.

 

 

and no I didn’t let off the alarm when I saw this guy! I was ready to pass out from the heat myself at this stage, he looked a bit cranky from it !

That was it for the day, we visited Bath, the next day and did the red bus tour, himself fell asleep as we toured all the streets, it’s a lovely city but driving and parking is pretty manic there.  We also managed to fit in a trip to the Roman Baths, well worth a visit.

Thoroughly enjoyed our visit and would love to visit again, till next time !

Maura

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Just a Card Week – You’re Invited !

Just A Card Week

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have you head of Just a Card Campaign ? Well, up to recently, I hadn’t to be honest.  It wasn’t until I saw something recently on Twitter, that I stopped and took note.

So in a nut shell, the Just a Card campaign was founded by Sarah Hamilton and is run by a group of volunteers and in their words ‘The JUST A CARD campaign aims to encourage people to buy from Designer/Makers and Independent Galleries and Shops by reinforcing the message that all purchases, however small, even ‘just a card’ are so vital to the prosperity and survival of small businesses.’  Need I say more ?!

To read more, here’s a link to their website 

And so, now onto Just a Card Week.  Founded in 2015, and to celebrate 3 years, they are now going to run a ‘Just A Card Week’ from June 18th – 22nd and of course all makers/designers/artists and everyone else are invited to join in !

During the week, there’s  going to be a few different initiatives, such as
*an Instagram challenge  *social media tips/tricks  *giveaways  *facebook/twitter challenge.  So during this week, get busy sharing & retweeting!!  Whatever social media platform you use, just get sharing. To read more, here’s a direct link

Now for the Instagram challenge prompts.  This is the one I aim to join in on.  My Instagram can be found here 

Just A Card Campaign

So, please support this great cause, support each other and all your maker friends, wherever they may be.

Till next time !

Maura

Note: All images are from the Just A Card Website.

Just A Card Campaign

 

 

Forest & Flock – A New Craft Shop in Bantry, Co. Cork

A short post today, and yes a second post in one week! don’t worry, its short and a bit of self promotion….. !

You may have remembered a previous post where I was involved with a pop shop last Christmas, well the ladies of Forest & Flock have decided to open permanently!  I am delighted to be apart of this new shop, along with lots of other Irish Crafters.  Forest & Flock are based in Bantry, Co. Cork and are great advocates of Irish design, so if you are down in that lovely area of Ireland, be sure to give them a call.  They are having an official opening night on Friday 1st June from 5-7pm

As  I mentioned above,  a bit of self promotion coming your way!  Here’s some pictures of pieces I supplied, most of these were done specifically for the shop & are not available in my Etsy, as of yet, but stay tuned.

The Messy Brunette with Forest & Flock, new craft design shop in CorkThe Messy Brunette with Forest & Flock, new craft design shop in CorkThe Messy Brunette with Forest & Flock, new craft design shop in CorkThe Messy Brunette with Forest & Flock, new craft design shop in CorkThe Messy Brunette with Forest & Flock, new craft design shop in CorkThe Messy Brunette with Forest & Flock, new craft design shop in CorkThe Messy Brunette with Forest & Flock, new craft design shop in CorkThe Messy Brunette with Forest & Flock, new craft design shop in CorkThe Messy Brunette with Forest & Flock, new craft design shop in CorkThe Messy Brunette with Forest & Flock, new craft design shop in Cork

 

 

Wishing Bernie & Maeve all the best with this exciting new venture.

 

Till next time !

Maura

The Messy Brunette with Forest & Flock, new craft design shop in Cork

 

Embroidery on Clothes – It’s not as hard as you think!

Embroidery on Clothes, a quick little tutorial on how I hand embroidered onto a denim shirt

Embroidery on clothes, still seems to be holding its own on the high street.   For this little project, I decided to try and embroider on my nieces denim shirt, yes another one !.  You may remember, my last attempt on denim with DMC’s magic paper on this post.

She wanted something bright and I decided to go all out for this one, because if you’re ten, you can wear anything, right ?!

Here’s a picture of the shirt before I started, just a regular shirt. The denim was a soft denim and easy to work with, some denim can be quiet stiff and hard on the hands.  I used a hoop to keep it taut and I hand drew the motifs, freehand, with a water soluble pen.  If you are not comfortable doing this, you can always sketch out a design and then cut and trace it out onto the material you are using.  Of course you can try out the DMC Magic Paper range too!

Embroidery on Clothes, a quick little tutorial on how I hand embroidered onto a denim shirt

 

Some progress shots of the floral’s taking shape. I used all six strands to give it some texture and make the stitches stand out.  The stitches I used were mostly satin stitch and leaf stitch and some french knots were added to the mix.  I used DMC floss mostly, but for the big blue flower, I used Cosmo variations in a blue/purple combination.

Embroidery on Clothes, a quick little tutorial on how I hand embroidered onto a denim shirtEmbroidery on Clothes, a quick little tutorial on how I hand embroidered onto a denim shirtEmbroidery on Clothes, a quick little tutorial on how I hand embroidered onto a denim shirtEmbroidery on Clothes, a quick little tutorial on how I hand embroidered onto a denim shirt

 

And finally, the end result.

Embroidery on Clothes, a quick little tutorial on how I hand embroidered onto a denim shirtEmbroidery on Clothes, a quick little tutorial on how I hand embroidered onto a denim shirt

Here’s a quick picture of my niece rockin’ the shirt.

Till next time !

Maura

Embroidery on Clothes, a quick little tutorial on how I hand embroidered onto a denim shirt

 

 

 

Crochet Book Review & Giveaway ! – Design Your Own Crochet Projects by Sara Delaney

GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED !
Winner : Sarah, please contact me with your details

Storey Publishing gave me this book ‘Design Your Own Crochet Projects’ by Sara Delaney around Christmas time and it is only now I have taken the time to sit down and have a read properly.  So grab a coffee yourself and have a little looksie at Sara’s latest book.

This book as mentioned is written by Sara Delaney, some of you might know her from Craftsy and author of ‘How to Crochet’.  If  you want to try and start designing your own crochet makes, then this book will help you get started.

Book Review & Giveaway - Design your own Crochet Projects by Sara Delaney

The book has fill-in-the-blank templates and a stitch dictionary, here’s a little sneak peek of one of the pages …..

Book Review & Giveaway - Design your own Crochet Projects by Sara Delaney

Sara has broken it down into designing for scarves, cowls, hats, fingerless mittens, mittens, gloves and socks.  So lots to get you started.  There is a stitch dictionary and a metric conversion chart all included.  Did I mention the book is spiral bound?  Which is great, as it lays flat for you. She has included some of her original patterns along with the formulas she used to create them.  I particularly like the scarf and hat patterns.  The hitchcock scarf is one that I have ear marked for the winter months, I can but hope we will get a summer, as I type this !

If you would like to win a copy of the book, just follow the blog and let me know in the comments section, what was the first crochet item you every designed and made.  I will pick a winner next week and publish on the blog.  Its open internationally too !

Till next time !

Maura

Please note, Storey Publishing supplied me with the book, all opinions/comments are my own.

 

Book Review & Giveaway - Design your own Crochet Projects by Sara Delaney

 

DMC Magic Paper Kits – Have you tried it yet ?

Hello hello ! Its been a while but hey, busy busy and all that jazz!  If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen this on my stories.  I just wanted to put it on the blog as well, as I got a lot of questions on it.  So read on !

When DMC contacted me to ask, if I would test out one of their new products ‘Magic Paper Kits’  of course I said yes !

You may have seen some of these kits floating around on social media, as various stitchers have been trying them out.  I did a live Instagram stores (my first eekk!) with the lovely Tash from HatchlingMakes trying it out and generally chatting all things stitchy with her.  Side note! please do pop over and have a look at Tash’s lovely makes, if you are a big fan of animals and geometric designs, then you will love Tash’s work.

To re-cap, this is what you will get in the kit.  I picked the floral pattern, but there are plenty of other patterns to choose from and there are cross stitch versions also.

Testing out the new DMC Magic Paper KitsThe little kit contains the pattern itself, which is printed on the magic paper, some embroidery threads and a needle, everything to get you started ! There’s a few instructions on the back but you can use whatever stitches you want.  You can find the different kits here.

Testing out the new DMC Magic Paper Kits

To begin, you just cut the pattern part you want to use, and peel off the backing paper, then stick  it on your piece of fabric.  In my case, I used my denim shirt.  I have been dying to try some stitching on an item of clothing and this was my chance.

Here’s a picture of the shirt all hooped up and ready to go.  You can see the pattern design on the paper.  Its sticks to the fabric and you just stitch through the fabric and paper.  I used a hoop on the denim, as it was a soft denim, but depending on the item of clothing you are using, you may not need a hoop.

Testing out the new DMC Magic Paper Kits

I used back stitch, stem stitch and satin stitch to fill in the flowers.  Here’s a few pictures to see the progress.

 

Once finished you just rinse off the paper in warm water.  Yes, the paper is water soluble and it will rinse away.  I left it in the sink for a few minutes and swirled the water around. You can see it dissolving in the next picture.

Testing out the new DMC Magic Paper Kits

Next I gave it a good rinse, to make sure all the paper was gone and then let it dry.  In my case, I left it until the next day, I then ironed the shirt, protecting my stitches and hey presto !

Testing out the new DMC Magic Paper Kits

I haven’t seen these in the shops over here just yet, but you can find them online.  I know CloudCraft are supplying them at the minute and of course try DMC

For a quick fun project, and if you want to try out some embroidery on your clothes, as it’s all over the shops at the minute, these packs are a good start.  I shall try and update with a picture of the shirt actually on me but I cant quite manage a shot on my own.

Till next time !

Maura

Please note, although DMC supplied me with this kit, all comments/opinions are my own.

Testing out the new DMC Magic Paper Kits

How I upcycled my chest box using stain

Another chest box that I upcycled, this time using stain.  Seriously beginning to wonder where the heck all these boxes are coming from.  If you want to read up on my other chest box revamp, have a peek here and here.  This one is for all the timber, himself has been chopping away for the winter months.

Here’s the before picture, don’t ask what I was thinking, but I went through a phase of painting everything in red at once stage!  I used my sander to get most of it off but I had to use some paint stripper to get more of the stubborn paint off.

How I upcycled an old chest box using stain How I upcycled an old chest box using stain

 

And  here it is after I sanded it down to the butt, nice eh?  I kept with a geometric design but decided this time to use stain instead of paint, to fill in the blank bits.  Using frog tape, I marked out the design.

How I upcycled an old chest box using stainHow I upcycled an old chest box using stain

 

Using the stain, I lightly applied it in some parts and in other parts I applied it heavy, just to see what kind of effect would come up.  I  used a cloth to apply the stain and wore gloves.  The stain I used was just some I had in my garage, nothing special but I do like the colour it gives.  It was called Indian rose wood.  The other stains I had were too light, I thought.

 

 

 

Here it is during the process, I had just applied the stain and was buffing it into the wood.

How I upcycled an old chest box using stain

 

 

How I upcycled an old chest box using stainHow I upcycled an old chest box using stainHere is it is all finished.  What do you think?  Oh and I did seal it with some clear varnish to protect it.  All in all, it didn’t take too long to do, the sanding was the hard bit, but I actually like sanding.  You can see the grain of the wood coming through the naked wood, I think it gives a nice effect. You can see below, the front and and back, of the finished piece.

How I upcycled an old chest box using stainHow I upcycled an old chest box using stain

 

Till next time !

Maura

 

How I upcycled an old chest box using stain

Giveaway! Giveaway!

******Giveaway Closed*****

Winners are as follows:
Prize no. 1: @completelyhooked
Prize no. 2: @aideenfallen
Prize no. 3: @looksomethingshiny
Prize no. 4: @homestitches

Thanks to all who entered!!!!!!

Righto, I promised this ages ago and seeing as I reached a particular milestone on Instagram, here goes……………

I decided to do a couple of prizes, one for the crochet/yarn loving people and another for the stitchy people.

First up, you will win as pictured, one massive 400g ball of aran weight yarn in a lovely grey fleck.  I used this in the past when making up a lovely scarf/hat combo.  And I will throw in another ball of Stylecraft Ombre Yarn in .  This is prize 1.

And if you are struggling to try borders on any of those blankets, this book will surely help out.  Its called Everyway Which, Crochet Borders by Edie Eckman, I did a review on the blog a while ago, you can find it hereThis is prize 2

 

Next , this one is for the stitchers among you.   You will get 2 embroidery books.  One from the team behind Mollie Makes and the other is Doodle Stitching by Aimee Ray.  Both suitable for beginners and experienced stitchers alike.  This is prize 3.

I have also, some lovely Kona cotton fabric and some linen blend fabric.  I use these types a lot to stitch on, there’s also some aida fabric for the cross stitchers among you.   And finally, these gorgeous embroidery threads from Aurifil.  They are a little bit different from the DMC/Anchor brand.  More of a matt finish, but they are lovely to work with and come on these cute little wooden reels.  This is prize 4.

To win these, you can either do it here or over on my Instagram.

To enter, just like and follow me here on the blog and/or  instagram and tell me in the comments section, how many wips have you on the go?  This follows on from my Instagram stories where I was very impressed with how many wips people have got going on and now I don’t  feel so bad about my mountain of wips in the corner!

I will keep an eye over here and I will be on instagram to check things out too.  You can find my Instagram account here.

I will let things run for a week or so and check in then and announce the four winners.

Please note, this giveaway is open worldwide and is not endorsed/sponsored by Instagram or anybody etc etc just me sharing some crafty stuff

Till next time !

Maura

 

 

Ikea Mini Storage Make Over

Playroom revamp - decor and those last minute touches that wont cost a fortune

 

 

Happy New Year to you all!  Its been a while since I posted.  Lots of things happened, mainly just so busy in December, it really caught me and I ended up chasing my tail as they say.  Then of course the household got sick and that ended all thoughts of sitting down and getting crafty.  But now the kids are back in school and I am beginning to feel normal!

I found this post and decided now’s the time to post.  A little Ikea make over …………

Love these little Ikea storage units.  I found this one while I was on the lookout for some storage for the kids playroom.  ( You can read my playroom revamp here )

I thought, it would be a good mini painting project for the kids to get stuck into.  A little Ikea upcycle project for the kids, if you will.

Here’s the unit before, still in the plastic.

Ikea mini make over

I decided to try a geometric design and leave some of the wood unpainted.  I used some frog tape to divide off the sections.  Frog tape is great as the paint won’t bled through, unlike ordinary masking tape. Then I just some some paints I had on hand, a mixture of acrylic and chalk paint.  I didn’t bother with priming it. After you have painted the sections, slowly peel off the frog tape and you should have nice clean crisp lines.

Ikea mini make overIkea mini make overIkea mini make over

Here’s the final result, nice and bright I think!

Ikea mini make over

Playroom revamp - decor and those last minute touches that wont cost a fortuneIts now taking pride of place on the kids desk, with their mother eyeing it up for her bits and pieces 😉

Till next time !

Maura

Ikea mini make over

 

 

Support Handmade Small Businesses this Christmas

This year, I decided to take the plunge and apply for a Christmas design and craft pop up shop located in Bantry, Co. Cork.  This was really on a whim and I didn’t  really think it through, to be honest and after a few pushes from himself, I emailed my application form off.

To say I was delighted, would be an understatement, when I got accepted, but then the panic set in and off I went painting, gluing and stitching like a mad woman!

The shop is branded under Forest and Flock and has lots of Irish artists and Irish made products.  Its doors are opening November 25th for a period of 4 weeks.  Maeve and her team are showing progress on Facebook and Instagram, so please have a look and support myself and the other makers.

Here’s a few things that I will be showcasing.

And finally Aisling from Moo Market in Dublin, will be selling some of my pieces in her lovely shop located in Stoneybatter, Dublin.   Aisling is a big lover of handmade and regularly supports and sells other Irish crafted goods, in her shop.  I’m honoured to be included amongst these makers. Thanks once again to Aisling.  If you want to follow Aisling, she regularly posts on Instagram and on Facebook.

Here’s a few peeks to what I supplied.

So Christmas is nearly upon us and people are shopping for friends and family, I hope you will support hand crafted goods and the makers.  The love and passion these people have for their work is second to none and every purchase you make with them, really does make their day.

Not just in Ireland but I know makers from all over the world , and you can find them on Etsy, Folksy, Not on the High Street and I’m sure in your own local town, so give this a thought when you are buying that special gift.

My Etsy shop is here

Till next time !

Maura