Gift wrapping can either be an delicate art or a case of crumpling paper until it fits and slamming on some tape for good measure. When you’re organised and have time it’s a beautiful thing, an activity you can do perched in front of Elf or Love Actually, feeling all together jolly. Unfortunately I can only remember a handful of times it’s looked like that for me and only one of them since being married. The first year we were married we made all our gifts and I decided, the crafty cat I am, to make all the wrapping paper and gift tags. We had a great time watching said films and sipping mulled wine as we went, all at our leisure with plenty of time to spare. Unfortunately the last few years haven’t looked so blissful. It’s involved frantically wrapping at midnight the day before heading home….and by ‘we’ I really mean Nick as he’s reticent to trust the accuracy of my folding. I sit and watch open mouthed and more than a little impatient as he measures out box nets to get the snuggest fit. Only he could turn wrapping into maths! As you can tell I don’t enjoy that flustered wrapping experience at all.
I’m never short of things to keep me busy but this November has felt particularly full. We arranged a little getaway before we realised what a crazy month it would be so it started to feel like a badly timed prospect the closer it got, especially with moving flat on the agenda a week later. But as with so many things in life the timing actually worked out perfectly. I was so ready for a break straight after all the carnage of Renegade Craft Fair and it kept me going after so that I wasn’t running on empty. Escaping to the country was exactly what was needed to relax and reboot before buckling up for the rest of the month.
We left the hubbub of London behind and headed miles and miles away to peaceful Wales, where the most prominent sounds were the cows mooing. We’d booked a four night stay in The Welsh House, Bryncyn, a beautiful cottage tucked away in the rolling hills near Newcastle Emlyn. This quaint, old building has been cleverly restored and given a new lease of life by owner Dorian. The eclectic mix of old meets new works perfectly to create beautiful minimalism with a healthy dose of cosy. Who knew the two were compatible?
How is December upon us already?! November was the biggest blur with fairs, pop up shops, setting up my workshops, orders and moving house to boot. That being said I need to embrace that the festive season is here and therefore not long until gift giving. Tis’ the season for a holiday gift guide don’t you agree?! If you’re stuck for ideas and pushed for time to get your thinking cap on then hopefully these curations will help you with some much needed inspiration. All of these gorgeous items are from Etsy which means they’re all made by independent designer makers which (being one myself) I think is a great way to shop at Christmas. We all appreciate your support so much and you can rest in the knowledge that so much time and effort has gone into each item!
Well the day has finally come! I’ve just launched The Lovely Drawer Brush Lettering Workshops and couldn’t be more excited. Any of you who follow along on social media will know I’ve been teaching regularly for a while and doing various different events here, there and everywhere but this is the first time it’s all completely under The Lovely Drawer brand. I would have never envisaged teaching 2 years ago but I’m so glad I embraced this and have been over the moon to see the workshop’s popularity grow. I have two fabulous new venues, West Elm and Smug and come the new year I will be doing three workshops a month with the potential for more, so hopefully this will allow for some of you that haven’t managed to get on a class so far.
A few weeks we were lucky enough to give the Fiat 500S a whirl for the day. We decided to see the sights of West London, as we know it relatively well. After a fun filled morning getting used to our new set of wheels, we headed to Notting Hill, land of colourful townhouses and endless market stalls. The journey over was smooth and comfy, far superior to our usual public transport options. Those comfy leather seats made all the difference and as I said before, whilst the car is compact it felt as if there was plenty of room inside. I’m not sure I understand how but I’ll put it down to some kind magical car sorcery. We did our best to avoid Portobello Road as it tends to be more than a little crazy, busy on a Saturday and parked up a few roads along, happy to discover that parking was free after 1.30pm. What a dream!
It has to be said that a DIY post takes a lot of thought and pre-planning. They’re definitely the most labour intensive of all the posts I work on and yet one of the most rewarding. It’s a great feeling to dream up something, then find it actually works and then see other people recreating it for themselves! I still love trying new techniques and thinking up creative solutions but over time you definitely become much more familiar with the kinds of things that work and the kinds of projects your audience love to make. Don’t get me wrong I have had my share of projects that have fallen flat on their face and just don’t work or look anything but Pinterest worthy (my side table with varnish that bled and legs that didn’t stick comes to mind) but all things considered more often than not I can make it work in the end.
First off I have a confession to make: Cue head hung in shame. I can’t drive. Well, not legally anyway. I wasn’t rushing to start lessons when I turned 17, instead finally knuckling down to it post university, only to fail six driving tests! You read right folks, I’m that person you hear about in those driving horror stories. You may be wondering if I failed with a bunch of minors each time but sadly more often than not it was a big fat old major that did it. Nearly running cyclists over…that sort of thing. I gave up just before we got married as I couldn’t take the stress and drain on my savings any longer. Moving to London a year later meant I never looked back and instead embraced improved public transport. Nick on the other hand has always been the driver and gets hold of his Mum’s car at any opportunity he can, as we don’t have our own. He relishes every holiday we’ve been on when hiring a car is necessary and is always the first to offer to drive as he misses the driving so much. It’s something I can’t relate to but I’m a very happy passenger! As you can imagine there’ll be no critique coming from me.Read more
This make was inspired by a trip to one of my favourite shop for ‘things you never knew you needed’, Flying Tiger. I came across this lovely grey marl, jersey yarn and instantly had to buy it and worry about dreaming up a use for it later. It wasn’t long before I was taken with the idea of somehow donning a wrapping technique to create a handy, whilst pretty, trivet. I’m often trying to scramble for things to put down to protect the table or surfaces from scalding heat. Our table is a bit worse for wear on that front amongst others but I’m soon to be getting a new one and looking forward to using things to keep it protected. Having said that, these could easily be used as coasters for hot drinks too. You need very few materials to create this Scandi inspired idea which is even better. Read more
Exciting new things have landed in my shop! If you follow me on Instagram you may have already been seeing peeks of the new product I’ve been designing and recently had back from print. I always love escaping the screen and general to do lists and setting aside a few creative days to get my inks and paints out and go crazy with the brushes & usually my clothes as a bi product. Weirdly I come up with a lot of my ideas when I’m swimming on Wednesday mornings which makes me think I should be expensing that activity! Normally I fill my work space with a forest’s worth of paper (don’t panic, I recycle) and then come back a day later to cut through the clutter and pick out the best bits that could be turned into something great! There’s a mixture of illustrations and brush lettering with some fun and quirky sentiments which I hope you lovely people will enjoy.
I’ve chatted about my dietary restrictions on the blog before and for the most part I get along just fine. In all honesty I wouldn’t want to eat any other way after nearly a year (bar the occasional pesky fluffy pancake or cinnamon bun craving). Having said that the main thing that will get to me from time to time is the subtle judgement from other people; the judgement that’s trying to gage whether I’m following a fad diet on a whim or if it’s a desperate attempt to be a food hipster. It can make me upset, particularly as I’m ever apologetic about being a pain when other people need to cook for me, most of the time fully prepared not to eat and just enjoy the social atmosphere at events or offering to make and bring my own meal too. I’ve just got to be okay with the knowledge that I’ve done the research and for me it’s banished my crippling health woes and really that’s all that matters.