Handmade - 1940's chain earrings

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Despite the fact that I write one or two new tutorials a week I rarely make pieces for myself anymore. Before I started blogging everything I made was just for me - I could go off on a tangent, not worry if steps are easy to follow or if I could capture the method in the right way, I won't lie I've missed it a little bit. In my head designing a piece of jewellery is very different to writing a tutorial, which I absolutely love doing. When I make for myself I love to mix different colours and textures and tiny little details that no one apart from me will notice but have such a big impact on the overall look. 

I made these earring a few weeks ago for a friends wedding to match the colours of the dress I was wearing. I used really special vintage beads that I bought at Tinsel Trading in New York. They're from the 1940's (I think) and still have their original packaging. The navy wire I picked up years ago and chain is just from my odds and ends box - I'm really happy with how they have turned out, its put the thought of selling jewellery back in my head again. 

On a completely separate note I'm not sure I'm totally happy with this back drop but I am happy with my new (secondhand) macro lens - look how clear all the chain is! Looking forward to playing around with it a bit more and writing some new tutorials very soon (I promise).

styling the seasons

Thursday, 14 August 2014

An exciting project announcement today that I'd love you to be part of. I've teamed up with the always fabulous Katy from Apartment Apothecary to start a new blog series called Styling The Seasons. 

Katy and I were chatting about how fast time passes without us even noticing - its so easy to get caught up in the continuous rush everyday of life that we barely notice the change in season. For this project we want to challenge ourselves and you to celebrate and embrace the change each month brings by styling a surface in your home to reflect what the month means to you. It can be any surface from window sill to bookcase, to bedside table to mantlepiece, if you have a surface you can style it! 

I have had a little practice with my recent coffee table DIY - I'm currently all about holding onto the lasts pieces of summer, these petals are from the beautiful billowy roses from my garden that I keep until the very last second and of course summery coloured jewels that make me think of turquoise seas and sunny skies. 

We'll be 'officially' kicking off Styling The Seasons on the 1st of September and invite you to play along on your blog, Twitter. Instagram or Facebook page. Don't forget to use the hashtag #StylingTheSeason so we can see all your lovely posts. 

Make sure you hop over to Katy's blog, she's sharing her inspiration for Styling The Seasons too (I've had a sneak peak and its gorgeous!)

You can find us at the following places
Instagram @LottsandLots 

Instgram @AptApothecary

Can't wait for you all to play along with us.

DIY - coffee table makeover

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Is it strange to buy a coffee table before you've even started looking for a house? Probably, but it didn't stop me. I found this table in Alan's cabin at my local tip about 2 years ago for ten whole pounds. I knew that one day it would make the perfect coffee table so until a few months ago it was stashed away at my parents house until I had the room/house to put it in.

Once moving day was looking closer the table arrived at the house all covered in hideous brown varnish. I tried a few different ways to remove the varnish; varnish stripper which worked a treat on the beams in the hallway but not so much on this table and then a good sanding. Both techniques didn't quite give the look I wanted (natural wood) so I called in Col with his plainer to completely strip it back. 

Here's Col giving the table top a complete plain, I was a bit intimidated by the blade so left it to the expert...
...but then I couldn't resist giving it a go so I gave all the legs a plain. Turns out plaining is alot of fun. 
 ...I  finished it off with a layer of Briwax, I'm not sure if this is the right stuff but I had it for the hallway and couldn't face another trip to Homebase to buy another product.

It still looks very fresh so I'm looking forward to it ageing over time but for now its perfect, in fact its so nice I leave all my stuff on the floor around it to keep it clear! Most of the furniture for the house has been upcycled in some way so I'll be sharing more of these tutorials as time goes on. Happy Making! x

Featured - Jewelry Affaire

Monday, 11 August 2014

Some recent press today, I was contacted ages ago by the lovely people at Jewelry Affaire to contribute my leather stud necklace to their summer issue (available here) and here it is! I'm still amazed to see my work in magazines, it takes me by surprise every time. Leather has become one of my favourite materials to work with - especially this lovely gold piece. Its so versatile and a little goes such along way. I have pulled together some of my favourite tutorials if you want to have a go, happy making! 

Nice things

Friday, 8 August 2014

Happy Friday everyone, I'm so glad it's the weekend. I got my craft zone/s set up this week so I'm excited to finally get on with some new projects without clambering over a 100 boxes, old building materials and discarded doors to find materials and space.  I haven't been able to get as practically crafty as I'd like recently but the internet has been full of lovely virtual things to get me inspired - here are some of my favs. 

Shopping - funds are at an all time low but if I had the cash I'd purchase all the above
Skirt - Oasis
Necklace - Didi at Liberty
Converse - Net-a-Porter

Bloesem - My sister is currently working in Singapore and she popped in the shop a few weeks ago. I have seen it before but I'm back in love with the blog and shop. I really hope she returns with some of these for me.

Let It Be Cosy - I loved Mallorca when I visited earlier this year and now I can pretend I live there through Rocio's beautiful blog. Its full of gorgeous photo's tasty recipes and general good stuff 

Sprunting - I always seem to read Catherine's blog when I'm starving, her food posts make me want want to up my cooking game big time! She also has a house rabbit which makes me like her immediately - rabbits are the best! 

Unfancy - I could read about people's style and clothing choices for ages. Caroline has edited down her wardrobe to just 37 pieces and shares the different ways she wears/styles each pieces. Its fascinating, I has made me look at my own wardrobe with different eyes but she's brave I couldn't have just 37 pieces, could you? 

Have a great weekend xx

DIY - Embellished Summer Shorts

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

A wonderfully sunny tutorial today. I embellished these shorts for the Sew Over It blog and I have to say I'm so happy with how they turned out. If like me you've been wearing one pair of shorts all summer long then this tutorial is a perfect pick-me-up for any tired denim you have languishing at the back of your wardrobe. Keep the colours bright and add interesting textures like this cotton embroidered ribbon and matt stones to keep things interesting. For the full details check out the post here. Happy Making! x


Monday, 4 August 2014

I've been wanting to talk about Monday's for a while now but haven't had the chance, life has slowed a little so I'm sharing today. Last year I took a big brave (for me) leap into the unknown and decided to approach my day job and ask to go down to four days a week. By day I'm a PA at a global corporation, being a PA is alright but it certainly isn't the dream. Like many of us dreamers out there I would love to work in a creative job 24/7 but the reality is I need to pay my gas bill and so 9 - 5-ing it is (for now). Last year my blog started to pick up and I was being asked to write tutorials for more people, not being able to say no I found that I was working all weekend and evenings just to keep up so when there was a shift in my role I took the opportunity to reduce my hours. 
I probably should have come up with some kind of business plan but I didn't/haven't. I had a list of companies/people that I wanted to work with and ideas that I wanted to try but mainly I wanted to gain as much experience and exposure to different ways of working so from there I could evaluate what I enjoyed and what worked for me. Over the past year I have worked with Liberty, Mollie Makes, Sew Over It and Jewelry From Home, writing tutorials and teaching workshops along side my regular workshops at Make Do and Mend. Looking back I can't believe how far I've come, if you told me last year that I would be working with all these incredible people and places I would not have believed you for a second!
When I read other bloggers doing amazing things my first question is - how can you afford that? ! I didn't have any real financial objective for the first year, I got to a place in my salary where I could afford to drop a day and made sure all debts were clear. I don't save as much as I'd like or have anything for extras like a fancy new dress but I'm ok with this as having a day to my self is more valuable. My first aim have been to make back what I have 'lost' which some months I do, it is becoming more consistent and anything I do make I put back in for workshops and materials.
I think the biggest learning has been being realistic with much time I have. I want to make everyone happy but there have been a few times when I have completely over loaded myself and not produced my best work, I'm slowly gaining the confidence to say no and manage my time better. Over the next few months I want to sit down and work out my plan for the next year or two. If anyone has a good business plan article that they could direct me too, I'd be really grateful (it needs to be simple).
If you're thinking of making a change and have any questions then please get in touch I'd love to hear from you and help in any way. Its definitely worth it. I have a few more post ideas I want to write on the subject so stay tuned. 

Thanks to Jo at The Only Place for these wonderful photo's. Jo is writing a fab series on Bloggers At Their Desks which is so so good - take a look! 

If you want to make what's in these pictures then you can find the summer statement necklace here and the leather heart bracelets here

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