Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Collingwood Sofas pops up at Manor Walks...

A new venture for my partner and me this week: a pop up shop.

My partner Peter's company Collingwood Sofas is running a pop up shop for three weeks in a busy North East shopping centre. And as I'm helping out for a few days here and there, they've very kindly allowed me some floor space for my goodies too.

All of the sofas, chairs, storage boxes and headboards made by Collingwood Sofas are designed and handcrafted in our home city of Newcastle upon Tyne. They are excellent hand built quality and offer superb value with all items offered at trade prices. And as all of the products are made and delivered in around four weeks, you could have a fantastic new look just in time for Christmas.

Here's a taster of what's available...

So please do drop by if you're in the area. You'll find us at Manor Walks Shopping Centre, near Cramlington, Northumberland. We'll be there until Sunday, 11th November 2012.
Opening times: Monday to Saturday 9.00am - 5.00pm
                          Sunday 10.00am - 4.00pm

Vintage joy...

Browsing my favourite blogs has taken the place of reading the Sunday supplement. I always used to look forward to something colourful and glossy amidst the inky newsprint. Now, in this digital age I don't even have to brave the cold to collect the paper. I simply pop the kettle on, make myself comfy (in PJ's and fleecy robe of course), fire up the laptop and away we go!

So what did I find this morning? A fabulous post from one of my favourite blogs: Vintage Living. A gorgeous guide to vintage delights available from Etsy. Here are my favourites.

I'm not normally one for girly and frothy but...

 And these stylish beauties couldn't help but catch my eye

Now, if I could just fit into that dress I could be sat at one of those chairs sipping a violet martini. Bliss!

Friday, 26 October 2012

Christmas CRAFTfest opens early for Black Friday...

Black Friday, what's that all about I hear you say...

A post Thanksgiving sales day originating in the US akin to our Boxing Day. The trend to have a pre-Christmas sale day is catching on here in the UK too so, not wanting to be left behind, we've decided at Creative Connections to get on board and have a CRAFTfest preview day on Black Friday. So we'll be opening our virtual doors for a whole nine days for CRAFTfest! Just think of all the lovely goodies just in time for Christmas...

So here's a little post it for you to remind yourself to come online and check out CRAFTfest on Black Friday - 23rd November 2012.

You never know, you might just pick up some special offers...shhh, you didn't hear it from me... I'm saying nothing...

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

The secret of CSS is revealed...

I wonder how many hours I've spent tearing my hair out trying to make the header image on this blog central. Far too many I suspect. Well tonight I finally admitted defeat and searched for the answer and discovered the magic that is CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). Why didn't I just ask the question in the first place instead of  a) making myself massively frustrated, and b) resenting myself completely for all the hours I've wasted faffing about? Answer - because I'm tremendously stubborn and determined to make things work, that's why. But never mind I got there in the end!

So for anyone else out there being stubborn and determined but ultimately frustrated, here's how I did it.

Go to "template designer", then "advanced" and select "Add CSS" and add the following code:

#header-inner img {  margin-left: auto;  margin-right: auto;}

Like this:

And hey presto - one lovely centralised header image. Hurrah!

I'm always looking for ways to improve my blog, so any comments or suggestions would be welcome. And any other little snippets I discover, I'll share with you all.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Christmas CRAFTfest is just around the corner...

Walking through town the other day, I noticed that the Christmas trees and decorations are now out on display. Funny the affect this has on me - I somehow now feel justified in playing with felt and knitting little red and white stockings.

And with Christmas looming ever larger, it's time to get into gear again for the mega CRAFTfest event:

Yes CRAFTfest is here again, bigger and better than ever! There's still time to book a stall so why not dive in and have a go. For £5.00 per stall per category you can be part of our virtual market place, join in our fantastic crafting community, meet new friends online and learn loads of really useful stuff about promoting and selling online.

I'll be around as a team leader again this time, so if you sign up for a stall you might just be part of my purple group. We all help and support each other throughout the event and work together to promote all of our fabulous stalls. It really is a brilliant event and we all have such fun, and the odd sale too if we're lucky!

So what are you waiting for? Get on board and grab a stall!

Friday, 19 October 2012

A new foodie haven discovered...

I've just come back from a weekend away in my favourite city - York. I love everything about York; the architecture, the rich tapestry of history, the shops, the pubs, the atmosphere and of course the food. I've eaten some fabulous food over the years and this time I discovered a gorgeous new deli cafe that I must recommend to anyone who, like me, is a bit of a foodie - Mannion & Co.


We only popped in for a coffee but having seen the deli counter with its array of enticing olives, meats, cheeses and artisan breads we just couldn't resist. We ordered the tapas sharing platter for two and were stunned by the bounty of quality produce we were presented with. And what excellent value at £10.50 for both of us!

There is a lovely selection of nibbley foods, sandwiches and main meals on offer with a daily changing board reflecting the fresh produce available. The drinks menu is well thought out too, with quality leaf teas and barista coffees which were also delicious.

So next time you're in York, pop in to Mannion & Co, 1 Blake Street. I guarantee you'll leave feeling very contented!

Friday, 12 October 2012

The felt is strong in this one...

I promised pics and here they are:

Gorgeous mini hearts just crying out to adorn your Christmas tree. Or how about these for all you lovers of a bit of pink and sparkle...

Listings haven't been uploaded for these lovelies just yet, so please email if you'd like to buy.

Set of six mini cream hearts - £9.00 (plus P&P)
Set of three pink hearts - £5.00 (plus P&P)

Thursday, 11 October 2012

May the felt be with you...

As autumn sets in properly, early morning frost appears and the living room temperature takes a decidedly sharp dip from ambient to nippy, it suddenly now seems appropriate to start making Christmas decorations again.

I know all of us makers and sellers are supposed to plan ahead to make sure we are ready to market all of our products and get ahead of the game as the seasons change, but there's something fundamentally wrong with wishing your life away and doing things that feel so much out of season.

Only when the chill is in the air and the cardigans resurface does it feel right to start thinking about the festive season. And so, out comes the ever growing bag of felt and ribbons and all things Christmassy.

I've been making some lovely little hearts for tree or garland style decorations in a rich cream with ribbon detail featuring little reindeer and snowflakes. I just love the Nordic vibe.

Look out for the pics coming soon...

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

It's those little Folksy things...

...that make me happy. Like when you've just listed a load of items on Folksy and they all appear in the recently listed row on the home page like this:

I have these lovely Nordic hand knitted decorations on my Christmas tree and along the mantlepiece like in the images shown.

Click here to visit my Folksy shop for details.

£3.50 each or £35.00 for a set of 12. Why not have some made up to match your colour scheme? Made to order - please allow one week for delivery.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Time for a new make do you think?...

I love to try my hand at a new project. And this one was certainly something I'd never made before. I had a commission from Joan who was about to go on holiday. Her trusty favourite travelling companion was looking more than a little worse for wear, and she'd scoured the shops looking for a similar replacement with no luck. What is this faithful companion I'm talking about? A sturdy yet flexible rucksack style bag; soft enough to roll up and squeeze into the corner of a suitcase and strong enough to cope with the rigours of the beach and poolside.

Joan had kept her bag and passed it on to me for inspection to see if I was up to the challenge of deconstructing, creating a working pattern and making a new and improved version. Always looking for ways to upcycle, I managed to remove all of the metal fixings and rings from the bag to reuse but I knew that eyelets for the drawstring closure would be a new skill I would have to master.

I chose a medium weight denim in black with an off-white thread in the weave. This would give a stylish and practical finish to the bag. I used strong black polycotton for the carry handle and for the D-ring fixings as I wanted to provide a contrast fabric for the look but also add strength to the finished product. It certainly proved to be strong - managing to bend and break my machine needle twice in the process!

I'm really pleased with the results, and more importantly Joan was thrilled. I haven't heard back from her since her holiday, but I'm hoping her new bag lived up to it's high expectations.

If you would like a similar bag made, prices start from £20.00 plus fabric and fixings. Email

Saturday, 6 October 2012

The joy of cooking brings another string to my bow

I feel I have neglected you my lovely blogger blog. Well cry no more for I have returned. This time with a lovely little read for you all if you have five minutes to just put the kettle on and have a virtual browse.

I'm very proud to say I am now a feature writer of the fantastic Creative Crafting magazine. This is a bi-monthly online magazine written, edited and published by like minded crafters covering all things creative from baking and cooking, to jewellery and glass work. This time around, there's loads of fun projects for you try out for Hallowe'en.

And look -I've even made the front cover with one of my recipes! This time my article is all about the wonders of pumpkin with two lovely recipes for you to try; roasted pumpkin soup and risotto with sage and gorgonzola. Autumn really is my favourite foodie time of year, so I'll be sharing some of my favourite recipes with you as the leaves begin to turn and the chill air begins to creep in.