Friday, 5 May 2017

A Year of Wreaths: April Felt Flower Wreath Tutorial

Every month this year I'm designing a seasonal wreath for The Village Haberdashery's blog. April's wreath is all about bright spring flowers:

I've combined some bright and cheerful wool blend felt with a lovely neutral linen-blend fabric - I love how the felt colours pop against the plain background!

You don't have to stick to my chosen colour palette, of course, there are so many great colour combinations you could use for this design to totally change it's mood or tie in with your decor.

The individual felt flowers would also make lovely brooches or hair clips. (You know me, I love a design with flexibility!)

Click here for the full step by step wreath tutorial and free template sheet.

You can buy a kit with all the materials you'll need to make this wreath, or just follow the links in the tutorial to find all the individual supplies in The Village Haberdashery shop.

P.S. Click here for all the tutorials in this series.

P.P.S. Yes, I know it's May already! :) I have had a bad case of Blogger's Block recently but I will be back soon, I promise.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

March in Pictures: Spring Crafts & Flowers

Time for my monthly Instagram update! My March was full of the joys of spring: spring crafting, spring colours, spring flowers, spring walks. All excellent stuff.

I got crafty with this gorgeous bundle of wool felt from Cloud Craft...

 ... using it to make these felt Easter egg ornaments, decorated with spring flowers. Click here for the tutorial!

March's addition to my A Year of Wreaths project also involved spring flowers: lots of bright daffodils and narcissi.

I couldn't resist having some photo fun with the flowers before adding them to the wreath!

I went for lots of walks in March, talking advantage of the milder weather to get out and explore my new neighbourhood a bit more. It's been wonderful seeing everything come to life with the arrival of spring and I'm getting slightly addicted to taking long walks on the beach. I'm continuing to share lots of photos from my walks over on my second Instagram account; it's very different to my main account but I love it.

Here on my blog I shared the final project in my felt fruit tutorial series (click here for all the tutorials) and was delighted when a gorgeous Instagram account (candyminimal) shared my felt kiwi photo.

I also blogged about the joys of decluttering (and how important it is to listen to your feelings), a London photowalk, a trip to Birmingham, lots of Instagram hashtags for colour lovers, and the new book Mom Crafts which features three of my projects.

Behind the scenes, I've been working on some colourful new things - and getting distracted playing with embroidery threads. I posted this thread photo the day after sharing the photo below (an old snap of the gorgeous flower shop at Liberty) and it's spooky how similar the colours are!


I've also spent some cosy, quiet evenings knitting squares for my random mini squares blanket. I've still got lots of squares to knit but I'm making progress...

Want more colourful, crafty updates? I'm lauralupinhoward on Instagram - click here to visit my page and follow me. You'll also find me on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, 3 April 2017

The 100 Day Project 2017

Have you heard of #The100DayProject?

It's a global art project which anyone, anywhere can take part in.

You choose a creative action, do it every day for 100 days and share the results online. You can read more about the project and how to take part here. This year's project starts tomorrow (April 4th) and I'm joining in for the first time.

It took me a while to choose what I wanted to do for my action: something quick and simple? or something more complicated? Trying something new? or developing existing skills?

In the end I decided to opt for something challenging but flexible: I've decided to do #100DaysOfFeltStuff - recreating one "real world" object in felt each day.

Choosing "stuff" rather than something more specific means I'll have lots of creative freedom and can choose something small and quick on busy days (and bigger, more challenging things on my days off!).

I'm really looking forward to this project: flexing my creative muscles, solving a whole bunch of design problems, and making a daily space for creativity in my schedule. I also can't wait to see everyone else's projects and follow along with the project hashtag on Instagram.

I'll be sharing daily photos on my Instagram Stories, and posting updates in my main Instagram feed - as well as on Facebook, Twitter and here on my blog. So if you're keen to see what I'm making but don't use Instagram don't worry, you won't be out of the loop.

Here's to 100 days of felt-y goodness!

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Introducing: Mom Crafts

I've got a fun new book to show you guys today: Mom Crafts: DIY Crafts for the Expectant Mom.

It features 20 projects to make for new babies and their expectant parents... including three projects designed and stitched by me!

The book includes projects to knit, embroider and sew (hand sewing and machine sewing). The "Mom" section includes a maternity pillow, a nursing bag and a lavender eye pillow. The "Baby" section includes burp cloths, bins and that adorable strawberry hat and booties. Then the "Nursery" section includes lots of decorative items to brighten up the nursery and celebrate the new arrival.

My three projects all involve felt, of course! (You'd probably guessed that, hadn't you?)

There's a night sky mobile to hang over the crib.

Then there's colourful and customisable hoop art (look, it's baby me! wasn't I cute?), which you can make with felt or some simple embroidery.

My favourite project of the three though has to be the whale pillow/cushion which doubles as a photo prop for marking those important milestones!

I showed my dad this book and pointed out my projects and he said "You made a baby? Just for a book? How much were they paying you???", haha.

Seriously though, how cute are these little people? Such sweet pictures!

Mom Crafts is published by Lark Crafts. It's available from Amazon UK, Amazon USA, The Book Depository and lots of other bookshops. Please note: The Amazon and Book Depository links in this post are affiliate links.

It's always a joy working on projects for Lark Crafts titles - I've contributed to quite a few over the years! Do you have any of these? :)

Sew Sweet CreaturesBanners, Buntings, Garlands & Pennants

Craft CampSewn Together

Doodle Stitching: The Holiday Motif Collection'Tis the Season to be Felt-y

Heart-Felt HolidaysFelt-o-ween

Stash Happy: FeltFa La La La Felt

Saturday, 25 March 2017

5 Free Felt Fruit Sewing Tutorials

I hope you guys have enjoyed the series of free felt fruit tutorials I've shared over the past couple of months!

Felt faux fruit

I thought it would be helpful to collect the links to all 5 tutorials so you can bookmark and find them easily for future crafting. Do let me know if you make any of these - or the whole set! :)

The fruit would look awesome displayed together in a bowl, and individual pieces would make cute ornaments or pincushions. You could also adapt the tutorials to make fun stuff like kiwi slice brooches.

Please note that the finished felt fruit is intended for decorative use only - it is not a toy and should be kept well out of reach of young children.

Felt faux fruit

1. Apple & Pear.

Felt apples and pear

2. Apple & Orange Slices.

 Felt apple slices
Felt orange slices

3. Strawberries.

Felt strawberries

4. Watermelon Slice.

Felt watermelon slice

5. Kiwi Fruit.

Felt kiwi fruit

Want more free tutorials? Visit my crafty tutorial archive.

For even more crafty goodness, check out my books: Super-Cute Felt and Super-Cute Felt Animals.

Free DIY felt fruit sewing tutorials

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Visiting Birmingham: Gorgeous Architecture (and Owls!)

When it comes to travel blogging, I am definitely a tortoise rather than a hare. I go on nice days out and the occasional holiday, I take a bunch of photos with good blogging intentions... then the photos sit on my laptop for weeks, months and sometimes years before seeing the light of day.

I don't see this as a bad thing, really. I'm not on a deadline, after all! I go places for fun, I take photos for fun and then at some point I'll probably blog about what I got up to. No pressure, just blogging about stuff when I feel like it. The only downside is that sometimes it's a bit weird starting a post with "Sooo, I went on holiday two years ago and I'm finally blogging about it! Woohoo!" Ah well.

If you don't like reading about what I got up to on my travels two years ago you should probably stop reading this post right now, because Guess What I'm Finally Blogging About Today? Haha.


In 2014 I went to the Blognix blogging conference in Birmingham and built a mini holiday around it, exploring Birmingham and going on a delightful day trip to Stratford-upon-Avon. I enjoyed my brief visit to the city so much (and, let's be honest here, the cheap hotel prices!) that I decided to go back for a longer visit in the summer of 2015.

That summer I spoke to so many people who were going to really glamorous, far-flung destinations for their holidays. "Are you going anywhere nice this year, Laura?" "Um, I'm going to Birmingham". It doesn't sound like the most exciting holiday, does it? But I had a really brilliant time, crammed loads of great stuff into just a few days and I still have lots of things which I'd love to do/see on a future visit.

So.... what did I actually get up to on my trip? Mostly walking around the city oohing over the architecture and other historical bits and pieces, and exploring the city's excellent museums (I love museums so much).

Before my holidays in Birmingham I have to admit that I'd thought of it as a pretty bland place full of concrete. I'd only ever really been to the NEC and to assorted conferences in bland chain hotels and just had this vague impression that it wasn't really an interesting place to visit. Kind of like a bigger version of Slough?

Of course, I could not have been more wrong. Birmingham is amazing: bustling and vibrant and filled with a fantastic and really visually interesting mix of modern and Victorian architecture. When I visited it was also full of owls, for The Big Hoot trail (so much fun!). (Click here to see all the owls I spotted during my trip).

I really enjoyed wandering round the city with a tourist map in my pocket, looking up at all the interesting buildings and spotting places to explore - galleries to pop into, churches to look round, cafes to have a cuppa in, and so on.

When I visited there were some very striking floral displays in the city including this one commemorating the First World War. Lots of the museums had First World War themed exhibitions as well, it was fascinating and moving to read about the local stories from the war.

I always love learning about local history when visiting a new-to-me place: centuries of people and their stories, and how the place has grown and changed over the years. I know not everyone is a fan of museums, but for me a trip to a little local museum (or the local history gallery of the big local museum!) is a really intrinsic part of my holidays. 

I'll be chatting about one of the Birmingham museums I visited in the next post about my trip ... which I promise you won't have to wait two years for! In the meantime, you can read about my previous (very sunny!) trip to Birmingham here. For more city break goodness, click here for my trip to Manchester and here for my trip to Leeds.