DIY little madam cushion

23rd July 2014

diy cushion

I was so excited when Clemence from Oh The Lovely Things asked me to guest post over on her beautiful blog while she’s away on her hols! I’ve enjoyed her blog for a long time now so if you haven’t been paying her regular visits you’ll just have to start now.

I decided to make this little madam cushion. It’s so easy to do, I promise. See the full DIY here.

blog hop

21st July 2014

Good morning! You may be wondering what on earth a blog hop is. Basically it’s 5 questions that get passed along to 2 new bloggers each time. Thanks to Katy from Folly and Bloom who passed the blog hop baton over to me. We met at Blogtacular and did some styling together at Ellie Tennant’s workshop which was loads of fun. Check out her blog hop post and just generally take a gander at her lovely, cheery blog.

These questions actually got me scratching my head and thinking quite hard. They are definitely good things to ask so here goes…

blog hop 1

Well firstly I’m not really a writer. In fact this blog hop might be the most I’ve ever written on The Lovely Drawer! My posts have always and will always be very image based because that’s what I love and that’s what keeps me reading other blogs. It’s taken me a very long time to really see myself as a ‘blogger’. I started posting as an overflow of what I was creating in my spare time and I really loved the idea of an online scrapbook, a place to put all the things that inspired me and projects I’d been working on. I didn’t have an agenda, I didn’t have a strategic posting schedule or even a proper camera at the beginning. I simply did it because I loved to and I began to see it stretching me creatively and pushing me into so many other areas of design.  As I kept on going I never seemed to run out of ideas and inspiration but instead was flooded with so much more. I wanted to inspire other people as I’d been inspired by so many other blogs and as time went on I also became quite passionate about making design accessible. By that I mean I love creating free art downloads or designed stationery for readers to use, as well as  walking people through DIY ideas that are simple and inexpensive to make.

Now writing my blog is almost a compulsion. Walking about I see most things as inspiration for a new post or how I could turn that boring object into a desirable DIY. It works well alongside my freelance design as the two often cross over and inspire both ways as well as receiving feedback for my work. All this said, I think a big part of writing this blog has always been that I love challenging myself. Often I think could I do that? Could I make that idea a reality? And each time I do, I want to push myself even further. God gave me a very creative mind and I want to use and grow that. Thankfully he’s put me in a position where I’m very able to do that right now. 

I see blogging more as part of my work now, even though it’s work I really, really enjoy (the best kind of work). God has used it to provide so many opportunities I wouldn’t have had without it.

blog hop 2

At the start of the new year I really wanted to work on more collaborative posts and thankfully many have come my way. The frustrating thing about online collaborations is that you can’t reveal them right away! So I’m working on a particular one at the moment which I’m very excited about but I can’t say more than that. I’m also adding a wedding page to my blog to make it easier and clearer for people to order and commission my wedding stationery. Those jobs always take a whole lot longer than I ever expect but I’m sure it will be worth it in the end.

In terms of general content for my blog I never really have a set schedule, more of a interchangeable scribbled list in my planner. I try and post every Tuesday and Thursday/Friday but I’m finding that isn’t always possible when I have lots of freelance work on. I always have millions of ideas for posts, especially DIYs. Unfortunately they take the most amount of time to produce from idea, to ordering supplies, to making and photographing, to editing the photos and writing easy to follow instructions. It is however the thing I love doing most on my blog and the posts my readers enjoy the most so expect many more. 

Now that I’m actually running my own design business and taking the whole blog thing more seriously I’m trying to get more connected to my audience through social media as its such a waste to not use that tool. Up until around last Christmas it was only my husband that would go on my twitter page to check in. I was very apathetic partly because I wondered, ‘Where would I get the time to do that?’ However I’m enjoying that side of things more and more now.

As always I’m also trying to improve my photography skills. Thats a lifetime project I guess. I used to roll my eyes when I heard another person saying you just need to practise over and over, everyday if possible and that’s how you will get better. I think I wanted a quick fix course or something but money didn’t allow for that so practise was the only thing on the menu. Developing that has actually been very organic and straightforward due to my blog and the constant need for images to convey what I mean. I’ve improved loads but I’d love to get better. Photography is so powerful! 

blog hop 5

Hmmm tricky but a question I probably should know the answer to. I guess it took me quite a long time to work out what kind of blog I was writing because to start with in true artist fashion, I didn’t care. I was finally able to sum things up in my tag line ‘Style inspiration and DIY ideas’. I certainly knew that I didn’t want the focus to be on me. Design was always meant to be the focal point and it’s interesting how things turn out because now I I’m often referred to as a DIY blogger first and foremost. That kind of happened on it’s own.

There are literally soooo many amazing blogs out there in every genre that it’s hard to say what makes mine distinct but before I’m a blogger, I am firstly a Christian and so with that affecting all areas of my life, it also affects my blog content. There is a different drive behind what I do and I try to be aware of that in my attitude and things I post or choose not to post. This may not be ‘in your face’ obvious as this isn’t a blog about theology but there is a constant God awareness in what I do/ produce.

I would say in terms of the DIY aspect I always try to make things that I think people would actually want to wear, display in their house or use for an occasion. I really do question each time I come up with a tutorial whether I would have originally wanted to buy something like this or is it just making something for making sake. 

blog hop 4

Well it’s pretty fluid really, meaning I do bits when I can. It’s very seldom I will do everything for one post in a single block of time. Thankfully now I work full time from home I can fit it around the work I have to do which is great, especially for photography! When I was working in-house, in order to get decent light I would either have to photograph all my makes at the weekend or quickly before I left for work in the morning just as the sun came up. Not ideal! I would then edit and type out posts most lunch breaks in the office. It’s pretty funny now I think about it.

Often if I come up with a curated post, colour palette or designer maker feature idea I can execute them reasonably quickly but something like a recipe post takes a lot more prep and a DIY post can often take over a month on and off to be fully realised because of all the stages. I often wish I could just make it and then photograph the lovely part at the end but I know photos of the process are important.

I will always question if what I’m doing fits in with my blog aesthetic and brand and often things get canned just on that basis. I’m always striving to make my work consistent and hopefully pleasingly coherent. I even think about that with my Instagram feed.

That’s my blog hop done! Now I’m passing the baton onto two lovely bloggers who blogs I love. 

Firstly is the über talented Francis from Fall for DIY. We met online via twitter and I’m so glad I discovered her gorgeous blog. If you love DIY tutorials especially for jewellery then you will be over the moon to read her feed. Beautiful images and makes that I genuinely want to wear/own. She’s about to launch her first jewellery making e course and is also working on a jewellery collection to go in her upcoming Etsy shop!

Second is my lovely friend Ruth Garner from The Planned Adventure. We were at two of the same events just before Christmas and some how didn’t manage to meet each other so we connected first over twitter. We since have been meeting up, exchanging ideas and discussing the fun and challenges of blogging/ the world of freelance. She is first and foremost a writer and a talented one at that but has a big interest in interiors and styling an avenue she’s currently dipping her toe into and loving it. She is full of ideas, some of which we were brainstorming the other day and she knows just about everyone in blogland, I swear. Check out her fun ramblings and soak in some of the interior eye candy right here.

let’s DIY a summer party

17th July 2014

Party club tropicana

colour block food domes // watercolour table numbers // fruit kebab place cards 

Party Something for the girls

pistachio dipped strawberry cream pops // strawberry lemonade with printable labels // crepe paper painted garland 

something for your screen

15th July 2014

brush strokes desktopYes it’s that time of the month again!…Time for a new desktop wallpaper to liven up your screens and this batch certainly will. If you fancy downloading for free (not even one of your precious pennies) then just click here. Hope the rest of your day is as bright as your new background.

Yay! I’m over on the Etsy UK blog

10th July 2014

etsy guest curator Hi lovely people! Well this is exciting! I was asked to do a guest curation post for the Etsy Uk blog which basically means picking some lovely things from talented makers around various themes. Of course I said yes and got to work trawling through all manner of gorgeous products (it’s a tough life) to bring you my selections. If you’d like to have a proper look then go over to the UK Etsy blog. I hope it inspires you this Tuesday. Hope you all have a lovely day!

feeling fruity

9th July 2014

diy zipper purse 1

I think its definitely time for another DIY! This one’s been hanging around for a while waiting to be posted and I’ve only just got down to it. After my crazy work stint trying to get my etsy shop up and running I had a a day of light relief in the form of a creative fun Friday, where I came up with these fun fruity morsels, perfect for Summer. My good friend Lora (aka bag maker and sewing whizz) lent a much needed helping hand in constructing the bags and even made a template to follow which I’ve turned into a free download for you. The template can be adapted in size to whatever you fancy filling the pouch with. Don’t panic, you don’t need to be a sewing extraordinaire but I enjoyed having my handy private tutor. Below you’ll find lots of photos and Lora’s instructions to guide you through.

diy zipper purse 2

You’ll need…

diy zipper purse 3

You will also need some scissors, a pencil, iron, sewing machine, pins, hand needle, paint brush and a printer and A4 paper for the template.

To make…

zipper purse instructions 1

  • Cut two squares of white cotton fabric.
  • Draw the shapes you want for printing onto the rubber and cut/gauge out with a cutting tool/scalpel.
  • Coat your stamp in paint and print to create a pattern for the front and back. Try doing a few practise prints to get a nice even print.  Try to space the shapes fairly evenly but don’t be a perfectionist about lining the stamps up. Jaunty angles and small imperfections make for a more movement in the pattern.
  • Once dry take a paint brush and use black fabric paint to draw on the details i.e the seeds or texture. Iron all your fabric.
  • Download the template here and print and cut out. Then pin this template on top of the two pieces of patterned fabric in line with the grain (use guide on template) and cut around the edge. The flat edge (with no curved corners) is the top where the zip will be.  Snip the middle markers so that you can line up your fabrics later.

zipper purse instructions 2

  • Now do the same with the lining fabrics. Pin on template, draw round and cut out, snipping the middle marker.
  • Sew the outer fabric and then the lining (right sides together) around the sides and bottom, starting 1.5cm away from too edge and finishing 1.5cm away from top edge.
  • Back to the main fabric; unzip your zip so the puller is about halfway along (this will make it easier to sew around it).
  • Leaving your bag inside out, pin the zip to the top edges (making sure the correct side to the zip is inside the bag so it is the right way round when you turn it through).
  • Sew along the tape and fabric until you reach the puller. Stop sewing but keep the needle through the fabric and raise the foot. You should be able to wiggle the puller past the foot. Once past, continue until the end. Repeat the other side.
  • Before turning through, snip into your seam allowance on the curved corners up to about 1-2mm away from the stitch line. This will mean your corners will lay flatter.
  • Now unzip your bag fully and turn it through to the right way. You may need to really push through the corners properly with your fingers. Iron it flat.
  • Get the lining and fold the 1.5cm seam allowance over an iron it flat all the way along, repeat the other side.
  • Put the lining inside the bag (your lining should still be as you stitched it so the seam allowances are on the outside, this means they will not be visible inside your bag).
  • Now get a hand sewing needle and tack it to the inside of the bag, along the zip edge. You should have a nice, neat clean edge where you ironed the seam allowance flat.
  • Iron your masterpiece and store all the wonders of your pencil case / make up bag/ sewing supplies to your hearts content!

diy zipper purse 5

new designers 2014

1st July 2014

Rosie Cook

Last Thursday I spent an intense but brilliant day at New Designers Exhibition for The Design Trust creative start up talks. By the end I’d acquired a very heavy head, full of useful info and buzzing with ideas. There was then a chance to check out all this years design talent so I had a wonder round. It was crazy to think 6 years ago I was one of those fresh faced graduate exhibitors! How did I get so old already! The standard seemed even higher than when I was there with so much gorgeous work. I could have featured loads of designers but I decided to keep it short and sweet with three of my faves.

Above is Rosie Cook’s happy happy silk scarves. Her bold patterns caught my eye right from the other side of the room and they were just as lovely close up. Rosie Cook was in the One Year On section. Having graduated the previous year, she was showcasing the collection she’s been working on since. Find some of her other fun patterns here.

Sophie Jarram

I loved these ceramics from Sophie Jarram and immediately started picturing them on my table. Sophie studied at Falmouth University, where her love for creating ceramics started and she found a particular interest in geometric vessels. The pops of washed colour on the inside make them even more desirable. Simple and stunning! Find more of her work here.

Becky Creed

Becky Creed is one clever lady! These are turned paper lights made from 100% paper and cardboard, creating a completely sustainable product. Each one is unique due to the nature of how they’re made. It’s such an amazing idea and I love the neon colours she’s used. I was totally captivated by them! She also studied at Falmouth University so  ‘go Falmouth!’ Find out more about what she does here.

beach bag giveaway

27th June 2014

DIY pom pom bag

Hi guys! Today I’m running the first Lovely Drawer giveaway, cue bright pom pom shaped excitement! So you may remember this fun summer beach bag DIY I posted a couple of weeks ago…well now you can win it! It’s perfect for summer, a holiday, a trip to the beach and let’s be honest, anything with pom poms on is a sure fire win. The bag has an inner pocket and comes with a detachable zip purse (26 x 20cm).

Unfortunately you can only enter if you have a UK address as this bag is quite sizeable! Get entering below. Happy Friday!

new to the etsy shop

23rd June 2014

The Lovely Drawer etsyI hope you all had lovely weekends enjoying the sun and making the most of the extended light hours. Mine was a longer weekend than usual with a fun Birthday Friday off and lots of treats but now…time to get back on it! To start the week, here are three shiny new prints that I’ve just added to the shop especially to brighten up your Monday! Click on over to my Etsy shop for a closer look.

Have you seen the brand new Etsy Uk advert? It’s so exciting to see time and effort being poured into the promotion of independent designer makers and sellers. Go Etsy!  If you haven’t seen it then here it is…

sugar fix

19th June 2014

cinnamon sugar donuts

Donuts! I haven’t met many people that don’t like them. My husband is in fact the only one I know which inevitably means more for me so no tears shed there. I basically needed an excuse to try out my unused donut pan and these seemed like a brilliant idea. Now I don’t advise these for everyday consumption lest you end up bouncing off the walls with no teeth left but they make an ideal weekend treat. You can find the recipe and more peony filled images over at Aspiring Kennedy. Be sure to check out her fun packed blog while you’re at it and in the mean time I’ll be hoping Lauren and her lovely family come back to the land of tea and scones soon. It’s been too long.