Wednesday, 11 May 2011


... Again not really anything to do with handmade loveliness but hey I thought I'd share it with you any way :)

We spent Easter weekend up in Edinburgh. I love it up there, we try and go once a year, it's one of my favourite places.

Still feeling shattered from The Full Monty we knew we didn't want to do too much. A little bit of sight seeing a few drinks, maybe a hint of shopping and some yummy meals. A chilled weekend was what we needed.

The weather in April was amazing so we left on the Saturday morning dressed for summer, flip flops, sunnies the lot. Erm big mistake!! As soon as we hit the border of Scotland the dark clouds rolled in and the heavens opened. We arrived in Edinburgh around lunch time and it was bloody freezing. Using the car as a changing room (we couldn't check in to the hotel until 3pm) we layered up and swapped the flip flops for boots and went and found somewhere for lunch.

That night we ate at Mother India. Now I never used to like Indian food and it's one thing I'm not very experiemental with, but this place is amazing. Indian food but tapas style. They recommend you order 3 to 4 dishes between 2 people. The small portions are perfect for someone like me who wants to try something new without being over faced. If you are ever in Edinburgh I'd 100% recommend it, but be sure to book we went at 6.30pm and it was really busy.

Drinks in Whistle Binkies anyone?

Luckily the Sunday saw better weather, beautiful sunshine. The park running parallel to Princes Street was packed with people catching the rays! We spent the morning chilling out. We took a stroll through the park, did a little bit of shopping then went for lunch at the Elephant Cafe, the birth place of Harry Potter.

Our friends work at the Castle so we went for a stroll round there as well as doing the Whisky Experience. The other half is a bit of a whisky fan so it had to be done really. They have the largest collection of whisky, hundreds of different bottles, floor to ceiling, wall to wall. It's worth a visit just to see that!

Whisky tasting...

Monday saw our last day in the city. We must go for longer next time. Any way a trip to Edinburgh is not complete (for me the chocoholic) with out a trip to Chocolate Soup, and with it being Easter weekend it just had to happen.
 It's the most delicious hot chocolate made with melted shots of chocolate yummy :) I had a double chocolate supreme and although I did feel a little sick afterwards it was worth it. Lots of chocolate, lots of cream topped with mint aero...

Warning, if you are on a diet DON'T go near this place!!

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

The Full Monty...

... So another reason I've been completely rubbish with blogging is that last month I was on stage in 'The Full Monty'!

This is us waiting to go on through the auditorium

Ok so nothing at all to do with handmade things but it's one of my hobbies that I absolutely love. Being on stage is amazing. Such a buzz.

I've been performing on stage since the age of 9, I was in a Gang Show and since then never looked back. I've been in pantomimes, various youth productions such as Oliver, The Wizard of Oz and Bugsy and now I'm in an adult society.

If I wasn't in a theatre group I'd probably never have met Simon, so who knows where I'd be now!

Us on our wedding day July 2009
We met back in 2000 during youth theatre rehearsals for The Wizard of Oz.

We normally do quite traditional musicals, Oklahoma, Guys & Dolls etc but this year we went for something a bit different. The Full Monty!

This was us a few years ago during Guys & Dolls

Rehearsals kicked off last November. Every Monday & Thursday night we'd head out then the week before it's every night for rehearsals. Then show week a full 6 night run, Monday to Saturday. It's so tiring but the buzz just keeps you going.

I've been in many shows but I can honestly say this one was one of the best. The whole cast were amazing and everyone just had such a good time...

... and yes for those who were wondering they really did do the Full Monty ;)

Friday, 6 May 2011

A Felted Wedding...

A lot of my work is based on commissions. I tend to do mainly wedding jewellery/accessories, working closely with my clients to create the perfect piece for them.
 I normally get to meet my customers and talk face to face with them about what they want from their jewellery. This way I get know them as a person as well as what they are asking for.

At the beginning of the year I posted an item in my Folksy shop titled 'Commission Work'.

Within a couple of days of listing I recieved and email asking if I could help a couple with their wedding accessories. "Of course", I said.
 This was the first commission I'd done over email instead of face to face meetings so I was a little scared about getting started incase I had the wrong idea of what the couple wanted.

On my to do list was:
A wrist corsage for the bride
Button holes for both the female & male wedding party
A table decoration
Hair clip
Necklace & earring set

The couple liked both my organza work and felt work and asked if I could incorporate the two.
 I started off by creating a few sample pieces, taking photos and sending them across for them to look at. Once we all agreed on the right style I set off to work.
 Here's what I came up with...

Wrist Corsage

Close up of table decoration...
The couple sent me LED's and other computer components for me to include in all the pieces.
 Button Holes

I had a fab time creating these pieces. I love a good challenge.

If you are interested in me creating a special piece for you feel free to get in touch.

Oh my...

... I've been rubbish! Can't believe I've not posted since March.

I suppose I have been quite busy when I think back to what I've been up to since then...

Blog posts to come:

A Felted Wedding
The Full Monty
Royal Wedding
Shop Updates

I'll post this afternoon about my challenging but fun felted wedding order...

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Tea, Cakes & Crochet Hooks...

... Well today was Handmade By's first workshop. 'Learn to Crochet' with Lynne Rowe.

It went down a storm!

All the places were filled.

Lynne provided everyone with a ball of yarn (there were all the colours of the rainbow to choose from) and a crochet hook. They learnt all the basic techniques whilst having a good natter and a brew.

It was great fun. They all went away chatting about where they were going to get their yarns from!
Keep your eyes peeled for more 'Learn to Crochet' dates.

The next event at Handmade By... will be Crafty Sew & Sews on Tuesday 12th April, 10.30am - 1pm.
 This is a chance for all you crafters out their to get together for a natter and slice of cake whilst getting on with some work. It doesn't matter whether you are a beginner or an expert at what you do. Hey you never know you might learn new skills off one another! Make sure you bring your own materials with you as for this one they are not included.
It's £3 for the session & you can drink all the tea and coffee you want, there's even cakes and biscuits too!
Booking advisable as there are only 8 places, well 6 now as two have already been taken!

I hope to see you there. x

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Check this out...

... Last year one of my friends asked me to make her a bouquet and accessories for her wedding.
 Having never done a bouquet before I was a little nervous but well up for the challenge.

The theme was black, white and purple...
 Using organza, feathers, beads, buttons, lots of wire and ribbon here are the results...

Here's a close up of the brides bouquet, I added some blue lace (something blue) and the bride gave me an old brooch to be included.

As well as the brides bouquet I also did a best womens bouquet (they didn't have a bridesmaid)

Dress accessory

Hair accessory

Cake Topper

I was pretty pleased with the results!

Anyway I guess the real reason for this post is...
 Yesterday I had a text off the bride which read 'You're famous, check out Off Beat Bride.' So off I went and there on the website was Donna and Kev's wedding! Even more exciting was the fact that I go a little mention at the bottom with a link to my Folksy shop.

Chuffed to bits I was!

If anyone is interested in my work, remember commissions are more than welcome and I'm always up for a challenge!

Monday, 21 March 2011

Learn to Crochet...

... There is just over a week to go before Handmade By's first workshop.

Lynne from Lynne's Pattern Parlour is coming along to teach crochet.
Crochet is the new knitting – it’s height of fashion at the moment. It’s on the high street, it’s in fashion magazines; it’s everywhere.
Lynne crochet's the most amazing things. Her designs are regularly published in Let’s Get Crafting Knit and Crochet editions and in other UK and American craft publications.

At the workshop she will be teaching the basic skills needed to get you started, so it's a brilliant opportunity for anyone who wants to learn a new skill in 2011.

What will you learn? You will learn how to hold the crochet hook and yarn, basic crochet stitches, changing colour, simple increasing and decreasing, crochet in a spiral. Handouts will be provided.

Where is it: Handmade By, 28 Lawton Street Congleton (above Cloud 9 Hairdressers). Thursday 31st. March 10am – 12.30pm

How much will it cost: Initial workshops will cost just £8. This includes tea/coffee and biscuits or cake and yarn. Crochet hooks will also be available to use on the day free of charge.

How do I book: Bookings can be made by calling into “Handmade By”, 28 Lawton Street, Congleton. Payment will be needed in advance to secure your place. Parking is available on Lawton Street Car Park (parking fees apply). There is limited parking space outside the shop, but this is limited to 1hr.

You can find out more about Lynne on her blog.
We hope to see you there!

Friday, 18 March 2011

'Craft Club' name ideas...

... As some of you know I'm going to be starting a 'Craft Club' at Handmade By...

The thing is I don't just want to call it a 'Craft Club', but I'm RUBBISH at making decisions and coming up with new names.

...Here's a short list for you to vote from
(Thank you to everyone who suggested names, I shortlisted ones that were a more general theme rather than based on specific crafts)

1. Stitch n Bitch
2. Kitsch n Stitch
3. Cloud Crafts
4. The Hobby House
5. Thread Bare
6. Crafty Sew & Sews
7. Chatty Crafters
8. Hands on
9. Craft Cafe
10. Congleton Creators
11. Create Congleton

What do you think?
You can either leave a comment here or over on my facebook page.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

British Bridal Exhibition...

... I've just got back from the BBEH (well I got back yesterday).
For those of you who haven't heard about it before the BBEH takes place every six months in Harrogate. Held at the Exhibition Centre hundreds of bridal designers, shoe designers, suit companies, jewellery and accessory designers, basically anything to do with the wedding industry, exhibit over three days show casing their work.
  Bridal shops from all over the UK and Abroad come to the event to buy new stock for their shops.

I went up with 7th Heaven Bridal for the weekend. We bought stock from Sophia Tolli, Justin Alexander, Dessy, Liza Designs, Ronald Joyce and more!*

It was a fab weekend but very tiring. I've come back feeling quite inspired so can't wait to get back to making. I just need to buy more supplies first.

*You can find information about all the designers stocked at 7th Heaven by visiting the website

Friday, 11 March 2011

A Handmade Wedding - Joe & Jenny

Jenny & Joe didn't have a theme as such for their wedding but what they did want was for everything to be made using recycled materials or natural/organic things and as much as possible was to be handmade.

This is a super colourful wedding! I love it. The bunting, the place names just brilliant...

Jenny made over 150 metres worth of bunting which included over 650 fabric triangles!
It was worth it though, the colours of the bunting against the trees and flowers work so well.

Carrying on with the bunting they used this header on their invites. How fab!

Check out these ransom note place names...

What a great idea and these couldn't be more recycled... Letters from old magazines and 100% recycled card stock. I really like these.
As well as these funky place names the guests had old records for place matts!

Jenny's dad made the wine for the day and they made all the cakes too!

Little cupcakes and then a seperate slightly bigger cake that they cut with a sword!

Jenny made her dress using sari fabric!

What a fab wedding, looks like you had an amazing day and thank you for sharing it with us :)

Check out The Felted Rainbow on Folksy!

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Red Brick Glass...

If you haven't already checked out Wendy's work you don't know what you're missing! A fab find...

Her work is beautiful. From glass bunting, to fairy lights and wreaths. All handmade on the Dorset coast.

I love this bunting!
A lot of Wendy's work can be personalised, making it a great gift for a special occasion.

How gorgeous are these hearts? Perfect for a wedding!

You can find out more about Red Brick Glass over on Facebook, or visit one of her online shops, etiher Folksy or Etsy.

I hope you enjoy Wendy's work!

Monday, 7 March 2011

A Handmade Wedding - Jaime & Pete...

... As I've already mentioned I LOVE a good wedding but the ones with handmade elements are to me even better!
 You get a real sense of satisfaction when you make something yourself and when it's for something like your wedding that sense to me intensifies!
 It's something personal to you, made by you, for you & your guests to enjoy.

I thought I'd share with you some handmade wedding stories.

To start us off it's Jamie & Pete...

Felt Flower Corsages made by Jaime & Pete for their wedding guests.

Everything started with Jamie's Grandma's button tin and wanting something of her to be with them on their wedding day.
 They came up with the idea of making button trees to decorate each table.

This then developed into making over 150 corsages, 9 button ball vases, they made all the place names and even a wedding tree of buttons for people to sign on the day!

Yes all the branches are buttons!

Jamie's dress was made by Ballerinagrape with matching cravats for the men.

Check out the handmade bouquet too!

Jaime & Pete looked like they had an amazing day, the wedding cars were a VW camper and and old Ford Pickup. Friends helped them to make lanterns, there were fireworks and even a leaf fight or two!

A few of the guests got Jamie & Pete making bouquets and corsages for their weddings and now they have their own business, Jamball.

Jaime & Pete have said the same as me, "We recommend doing as much as you can yourself for your own wedding. It makes everything more personsal and that little bit more special".

Thank you Jamie & Pete for sharing your handmade wedding with us.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

There's another side to me...

... On a Wednesday my shop, Handmade By... is closed, as on this day I get to work in a bridal wear shop!
Yes as well as my love for all things handmade I also love a good wedding, who doesn't!

7th Heaven Bridal has been in Congleton now for nearly two years and has recently moved to bigger premises.

It's a beautiful shop full of beautiful dresses and bridal accessories.

I'm lucky to have this connection, I get quite a few orders off brides to be. From jewellery for themselves, a fascinator for mum to gifts for their bridesmaids.

It is a lovely place to work and you get to meet lots of lovely brides and hear all about their ideas, each one so different to the next.

My next blog post will be carrying on the wedding theme. I'll be blogging about handmade weddings.

Monday, 28 February 2011


I've had an awful cold for a few days and have been zapped of all energy. I was tempted not to come into work today and just sleep, but I dragged myself out of bed and here I am!
 I didn't have a clue what to blog about today until I saw this picture on Facebook...

Those of you who already know me well, will know that I have a slight addiction to buttons. I don't know how or where this started but I just do, I love buttons!

So much so I make my own...

... Out of ceramics...

... Plastics...
...and enamel

We even have a cat called Button, although we didn't call him this but we just had to have him from Cats Protection when we saw him...

Here he is, he's ace. As cute as a button some might say!!

So come on then spill, I've admitted my addiction, lets hear yours!

If anyone has any unwanted buttons you know where to send them ;)

Friday, 25 February 2011

I can't believe I forgot...

... The Bead Shop!

There are two that I always go to, the link above is in London on Tower Street, Covent Garden. It is AMAZING. I try and get to London at least once a year and when I do The Bead Shop is always on my list for a visit. I tend to leave the other half roaming around all the other interesting shops in the area as he gets a bit bored looking at beads!

The other that I like to visit is a little closer to home in Aflex Palace, Manchester.

These are a few of my favourite things...

... This morning I thought I'd share with you a few of my favourite places to visit, all craft related of course!

First up: The Manchester Craft & Design Centre - I LOVE this place. Having my shop now means I haven't been able to get there for a while but fingers crossed I'll get there again soon.

You can find the Centre on Oak Street in the Northern Quarter in Manchester.

Home to 18 studios, ranging from jewellery and clothing to wood, metal and ceramics you are bound to find something amazing. There is also a cafe in the centre and they run regular workshops and exhibitions.
 If you're in Manchester it is WELL worth a visit!

Whilst you're in the City make sure you call in at Fred Aldous on Lever Street. This is an amazing art & craft supplies shop full to the brim of all things magical!

Also the Craft Shop in the Royal Exchange is a little hidden gem.

Moving out of the City now and up to the Lake District. One of my closest friends who knows my dream of having a craft shop and tea rooms told me to take a trip to Hawkshead, there in the tiny village lies Poppi Red.

This place really is amazing. You can get a yummy slice of cake and a cup of tea and enjoy whilst surrounded by the prettiest things.

I love finding new places so if anyone has any suggestions for me that would be great but for now I hope you enjoy my findings and if you haven't already visited you really must!

Thursday, 24 February 2011

I am not a real fish...

... A must see 365 project by the fabulous Photography by Gail Griggs.

Gail has challenged herself to take a different photograph everyday for a year. Each photo to include this little fishy.

You can follow the adventures of Mr. Fish over on Facebook.

I love Gail's work, so much so she is one of my suppliers at Handmade By.... The vintage inspired images are all taken through the view finder of a 1940's camera. Ooo they are just yummy to look at!

As well as these great prints Gail is available to take photographs of your special events. She prides herself in fun, informal photography.

I hope you enjoy looking at her work as much as I do!