Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Just Us Girls - Book Review

I was very lucky to be asked to review some craft books for Quarto and the one that immediately caught my eye was 'Just Us Girls' a book of 48 Creative Art and Craft Projects for Mothers and Daughters. My daughter loves making things but I am often a bit distracted by work so it feels like I don't actually get involved as much as I would like. This seemed like the perfect choice for the summer holidays!

Its such a lovely book! My daughter was hooked from the moment I gave it to her to look at. She spent hours looking at all the projects and loved the idea that it was something we were going to do together. She very quickly marked out several projects she wanted to try. The book is split into seasons and a lot of the projects are outdoors based which I really liked and which makes it a bit different to lots of other craft books. We tried out the following projects - all chosen by my daughter...

Peaceful Mind Globe

We loved this idea! Its basically like a huge snow globe but with glitter. The idea is that when you are stressed or perhaps having an argument, you go and shake the jar and sit and watch it until the glitter settles. Watching the glitter float around is relaxing in itself and the time out that the process gives you ensures that any argument is soon forgotten.  

We found some lovely glass jars in our local 99p shop and bought some glycerin in our local chemist. We had lots of glitter and sequins lying around at home and it was lots of fun choosing which colours to put in. Izzy decorated the jar and made the sign. The Peaceful Mind Globe was really quick and easy to make. We actually use it a lot and it is great for diverting children from having tantrums and melt downs!

'Happy Thoughts Jar'

We decided that we really liked the idea of writing down things that make us happy each day and popping them in a jar. Whenever we feel sad, we can then look at all our happy thoughts and remember all the lovely times we have had.


We found another lovely jar in the 99p shop and Izzy filled it with lavender and shredded tissue paper. We then each wrote down some happy thoughts to start us off. Such a simple yet lovely idea and one we want to keep up.

'Summer Fairies'

These little summer fairies are so cute and I knew Izzy would love making them clothes with all my left over fabric scraps. I ordered some of the old fashioned wooden pegs on ebay for a couple of pounds. They were really easy to get hold of.

We ran out of pipe cleaners unfortunately so ours don't have arms at the moment! Izzy loved drawing on the faces and making outfits for them though.

There are still lots of projects we want to try and I think we will come back to this book time and time again. It has a lovely section at the end which gives you all the patterns and templates you need along with illustrated colour labels and pictures to stick on things. This book would make a really lovely gift and Izzy (who is 8 years old) and I both absolutely loved it.

You can buy this lovely book on Amazon here

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Giveaway! Win tickets to The Stitching, Sewing & Hobbycrafts Shows in Exeter & Manchester

We have 10 pairs of tickets to The Stitching, Sewing & Hobbycrafts Shows to give away on the blog today! 5 pairs of tickets for the Exeter Show (Westpoint 25-28 September) and 5 pairs of tickets for the Manchester show (Event City 11-13 September 2014). These shows are fabulous days out if you love sewing and other crafts with an inspiring schedule of workshops, talks, demonstrations, catwalk shows and an abundance of creative and crafting supplies from hundreds of exhibitors. Take lots of money with you!

If you want to find out more check out full details of both shows here.

Highlights include

  • Dressmaking expert Thelma Judge will be on hand at The Learn to Sew Workshop to help those new to the craft get to grips with sewing machines and tackle simple sewing processes.  The Workshop is also the perfect stop off for those looking to return to sewing and in need of a quick refresher.
  • Fashion fanatics will have the chance to get up close to the flamboyant collection of costumes from the popular retail inspired drama, Mr Selfridge.  The biggest and finest department store of its kind back in the 1900’s, Selfridges was as renowned for its wealth of luxurious fabrics and delectable accessories then as it is today. The costumes inspired by this turn of the century era will be on show over the four days.

  • Check out the latest trends for autumn/winter on the catwalk in the Fashion area of the show. Visitors can see and hear about the latest ideas and trends and receive top tips and advice on which styles, colours and fit are the most flattering.

  • The popular Cookery Theatre is back in Manchester with cookery experts leading demonstrations with delicious recipes and ideas. There are one-to-one sessions with expert novelists in the Fiction Workshop and for visitors who are green fingered, the Gardening Theatre will feature an A-Z of garden planning.

The giveaway ends on 31 July 2014 and tickets will be sent out direct from the Show organisers. Good luck!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, 13 June 2014

Retro Orchard is here!

We are so pleased to have received 4 gorgeous fabrics from the new 'Retro Orchard' Collection from Dashwood Studio and even more pleased that one of our favourite customers Bree from 'A Pocketful of Alice' has made a range of gorgeous clothes to showcase the fabrics for Dashwood. They look beautiful!

Dashwood Studios are based in the UK and use British Designers for all of their fabrics. You can find out more about the company here

Bree makes absoutely gorgeous clothes for children and often uses our fabrics for her designs.

You can find the 'Retro Orchard' fabrics on the Sew Scrumptious website here

Check out the 'Pocketful of Alice' facebook page here to see more of their gorgeous designs. These are some of our favourites using fabrics you can find on the Sew Scrumptious website.

 Michael Miller - Parisville


Free Spirit - Racoon

 Michael Miller - Sing Song

Michael Miller - Swan Dive

Robert Kaufman - Fox & the Houndstooth

 Michael Miller - Groovy Guitars

Dashwood Studio - Prairie - Lace

Free Spirit - Pretty Little Things - Trees

Michael Miller - Elephant Stomp

Michael Miller - Flower Fairies

Michael Miller - Gnomesville

Riley Blake - Treasure Map

Huge thanks to Bree for letting us share some of her gorgeous designs.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Pillowcase dresses take over the world!

The 'Dress A Girl' charity is going from strength to strength with hundreds of new dresses arriving each month and lots of dresses reaching new homes abroad. I've received lots of new photos recently so wanted to share them with everyone.

These lovely dresses reached an orphanage in Uganda thanks to the NOTDECUK charity. Huge thanks to Catherine for organising and sending through the lovely photos.

Dresses reached The Phillipines thanks to Mercy in Action. You can see more lovely photos on their blog here. We will be sending more dresses to Mercy in Action soon hopefully.

Empower The Gambia distributed some dresses for us in The Gambia. Have a look at their facebook page here for lots more info about the work that they do.
Dresses reached The Sudan. Thanks to Beryl for organising. We have just sent some more which should hopefully be there soon.

Dresses also went to several other projects in Uganda including Uganda Concern

and Project Uganda where dresses were distributed to children from a special needs unit opened whilst the charity was in Uganda. The charity reported that some of the children had speech and hearing difficulties and quite a few had curvature of the spine and the dresses were fantastic as they were able to adjust the shoulder straps to fit the girls. All the girls at the unit received the dresses for Sunday wear and some were also distributed in rural villages. Local women were also shown how to make the dresses.

Dresses and shorts reached Tanzania thanks to Esther who overheard one little girl saying 'This is the happiest day of my life' as she was walking home in her new dress!

Dresses also reached Zimbabwe. Thanks to Yvonne for sharing. The older girls often wear the dresses as tops!

Dresses reached Jambanjeli in The Gambia. Thanks to Esther for sharing this lovely photo.

Dresses also reached Kenya thanks to Maji Safi. We have an ongoing relationship with Maji Safi as they are Bristol based and visit Kenya regularly.



Dresses went direct to Sri Lanka. Thanks to Pat for sharing.
I also wanted to share this lovely photo of dresses reaching Ghana

A huge thanks to everybody who has made dresses and shorts and to all the people involved in distributing them for me both here in the UK and abroad.

We are always after feedback from our distributors and they always say how much the children love their new dresses and shorts. They are very often the only decent item of clothing that the child will own which means they are very often worn EVERY day! A recent distributor shared this photo of a clothes washing area in Uganda and described the harsh washing process the clothes go through as they are scrubbed by hand every single day. In some countries the dresses are washed in rivers and scrubbed on washboards so they do need to be as sturdy as possible to make them last as long as possible.

Here is a reminder of a few things to bear in mind when making dresses -
  • Please make the dresses as sturdy as possible.
  • Where possible use strong cotton fabric
  • Avoid leaving raw edges if at all possible, even pinked edges will start to fray over time
  • Make straps out of bias binding that is securely attached.
  • Always backstitch, especially at the ends of the bias tape and where the tape joins the top of the dress
  • Please avoid see through fabrics if possible.
  • Ties need to be long enough to tie in a bow at the shoulder
Happy Dress Making!


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