Monday, 22 August 2016

Art Deco London Photowalk....

A few weeks ago I went on a photo walk organised by the talented and lovely Kate of Made by Mrs M.   Kate used this map of Art Deco London and planned the trip around some of the Underground stations on it.

We all met at Rayners Lane, there were 6 of us, I only knew Laura (of Bugs and Fishes) who I've met up with before on fun days out and it was lovely to meet the others.

Rayners Lane Underground Station

I used the opportunity to practice with my DSLR on manual and I have to say I was pretty impressed with my photos, I think I have finally cracked manual, woo hoo!

Our first photo opportunity was the Zoroastrian Centre near Rayners Lane Tube Station.  I had not come across Zoroatrianism before but apparently it is one of the oldest religions in the world. Originally this Art Deco building was built in 1938 as a cinema.

Next stop Sudbury Hill....

We walked form Sudbury Hill to Sudbury Town Underground Station. We came across this view of London along the way

We also found a derelict building, it's a shame to see businesses close and buildings being unused but they do make interesting photos....

Sudbury Town has a beautiful, old ticket office.  It's great that they have kept this piece of history in the station, even thought it's no longer used.

Sudbury Town rail tracks

Sudbury Town Signals
Next stop Park Royal

I loved this photo of the station, with it's classic Art Deco architecture and the perfect timing of a train....

I love a good quote!

This was outside of the station, I loved the pattern of the iron work.
On to Chiswick Park....

I think this is my favourite photo of the day. 
At Hounslow West, the platform wasn't much to be inspired by and we were surprised the map took us here but we went up to the station and it was a little gem!

This is my favourite, favourite photo of the day! Also a great photo for the #100DaysofPatternCBC challenge

Tile pattern on the walls
This became my favourite station of the trip. I wondered how many commuters look up and take the time to admire the beautiful ceiling and the history around them.

Osterley station is very close to Heathrow and on its flight path. When outside we saw a very low flying plane which would make a great photo opportunity, especially if it were a BA flight then the branding would match the underground (yes they fly that low). I took this photo of the group waiting for the next plane....

We only had to wait a minute but unfortunately it wasn't a BA plane....

Boston Manor was our last stop of the day....

I had such a fun day out with everyone. It was so interesting to take the time to look at these tube stations, it's so easy to take these places for granted when we are rushing about our daily business.  The tour takes in a lot of buildings in London, not just the tube stations we saw but we'd need another day or two to fit in everything.

You must check out some of the fantastic photos that everyone shared on Instagram by using the hashtag #madebymrsmphotowalk and you can check out Kate's blog post about the day here where you can also sign up for the next photowalk on 1st October 2016. This will take in the stations at the south end of the Northern Line (Clapham South to South Wimbledon). I hope to join Kate again for this so if you're interested as well please sign up and I'll hopefully see you there!

Sunday, 14 August 2016

5 Tips for Finding Craft Ideas and Patterns Online....

I have a guest writer on the blog today. Cassie contacted me with an idea that I thought you would all like, five tips for finding craft ideas and patterns. If like me your go-to website is Pinterest (which is a great site, but you don't know what you are looking for or you want to try a different resource for a change) the following will give you more ideas to find inspiration. (I've added my penny's worth in italics)

Over to Cassie....

I want to first express my gratitude to Fiona for deciding to give me the opportunity to share some of my tips with her readers. fizzi~jayne’s blog has been one of my favourite resources to find crafting advice, and if you haven’t joined in on the #CraftBlogClub yet, I’d definitely recommend you do so! (Aw thanks Cassie, I promise I didn't ask her to write that!)

If you’re looking for some inspiration for your next craft project, the internet is one of the best places to turn. It’s easier than ever before to find patterns, tutorials and DIY projects on the net, many of which are completely free. You can typically access just about any craft site on your smartphone or tablet too, making it simple to complete creative projects while travelling or visiting a friend.

However, it can be time consuming finding worthwhile craft ideas and patterns online. If you don’t already know of some reputable websites or are looking for a wider variety, you might benefit from some tips! 

Here are five to help you out....

1.     Attend a Class on Craftsy
Craftsy contains not only craft ideas but also patterns. On Craftsy, you can select from a variety of classes to attend right from your computer, tablet or smartphone. Though all of the classes are virtual and lessons are taught through video instruction (which can make learning a little tricky depending on the project), you have access to discussion boards if you’d like some extra help and can also message the instructor when needed.

Each class is fairly inexpensive (many under $50/£38 and some as little as $20/£15), and if you don’t have the cash to spend on classes, you can still benefit from a Craftsy account, as there are often free classes. Every class comes with a money-back guarantee, though, so it’s definitely worth checking out! Your access to each class you enrol in never expires so you’ll always be able to log in on the site (or app) to view the videos (which are in high definition, of course!).

There’s really nothing not to love about Craftsy. Just be sure to protect your devices before using it (especially when using the app on a smartphone, laptop or tablet) because as mentioned here by Secure Thoughts, it can be somewhat risky streaming videos online when you don’t have the proper security software. 

I have signed up for a couple of their courses and I found them useful and inspiring. They often have sales and offers so worth signing up for an account at least.

2.     Purchase Patterns on Etsy
Etsy is an online marketplace dedicated to crafters and is a great site to find all sorts of patterns. Whether you’re looking for crochet, cross-stitch, or just sewing patterns, Etsy is sure to have something you’ll be interested in. Prices tend to vary, but you can find patterns for as low as $3/£2 (on Etsy UK they can be as cheap as 18p).

There are also patterns for paper crafts, and many come as digital downloads so you can store them on your computer. Etsy is especially nice since the majority of the patterns are made by the sellers so you may be able to find some unique patterns you wouldn’t find elsewhere. Overall, it’s a good choice if you have the money to spare, and there’s a large variety with more listings popping up regularly.

As well as Etsy there is Folksy and other handmade marketplaces that you can check out.

3.     Sign Up for CraftFoxes
CraftFoxes is an online crafting community and social network that allows you to create a free account and browse through a wide variety of different crafting projects in categories such as knitting, scrapbooking, jewellery making and more. Their site really has a little bit of everything, even recipes and gardening projects.

You can personalise your profile and upload your own project guides for others to benefit from, sell your handmade goods, post photos of your completed projects, and also participate in the forums where you can ask questions and chat with other crafters. The best thing about CraftFoxes, though, is that all of the projects listed are 100% free, so you can reserve your spending money for another time (or perhaps you might want to use it on supplies).

4.     Check Out Craft Supply Stores’ Websites
One of the best places on the net to find craft ideas and patterns is actually on craft supply stores’ websites. Many craft stores list a fair amount of how-to guides online to encourage shoppers to purchase their supplies from them for specific projects they’ve posted. Whether it’s a local craft store that you’ve visited or a store located in another area, you can find some great tips on their websites.

Some of my favourites are Michaels and Jo-Ann Fabrics and Craft Store, but if you visit the websites of your local craft stores, you may find some great inspiration as well. One perk of doing that as well (besides the tips of course) is that you can typically shop for all of the required materials and locate some money-saving coupons all in one visit to the website. 

For anyone based in the UK, Hobbycraft also share tutorials on their blog.  The suppliers you already use are likely to share tutorials on their websites so it's worth having a look.  

5.     Browse Through
There was a time when Martha Stewart was basically the queen of crafting, at least in the eyes of Americans. She had a wonderful TV show and could inspire even the least crafty of folks to show off their creative side. Though her TV show is off the air now, that’s no reason to push her from our minds, as her website serves as an amazing resource for crafters of all skill levels!

On, craft ideas aren’t the only thing you’ll find either. Her website can also bring out the chef in you and inspire you to throw a festive celebration for the holidays. She has tips posted to help you stay organised too and upcycle your old belongings into beautiful pieces of artwork that will liven up your home.

You can also shop on the site too since Martha Stewart has her own brand of craft supplies and other items (mostly housewares, of course). Most of all, her site may be one of the best for DIY projects, and it surprisingly has a nice selection of craft ideas for kids. It’s a page you won’t want to miss.

Other Ideas
No matter what type of craft you prefer or how much money you have to spend on your hobbies, using what the internet has to offer to your advantage is never a bad idea. There are countless craft projects listed on a ton of websites across the net, and they are most definitely not limited to only five sites. Even popular social media sites have a lot to offer the crafter (YouTube has a lot of DIY videos, for example).

So what are your favourite crafting websites and tips to finding patterns online? Please share them with us in the comments!

About Cassie
Cassie is both a crafter and entertainment blogger. When she isn’t busy writing for, she’s often knitting in her living room or enjoying a class at her local craft supply store. You can follow Cassie on Twitter here.


Thank you Cassie, for sharing your tips with us. One other website which I would recommend for knitters and crocheters is Ravelry. It's a great resource for patterns and some are even free. 

I hope you have found this useful, it certainly has reminded me about Craftsy and I will be checking out CraftFoxes.  As Cassie said, please share any other resources you use in the comments.

Monday, 8 August 2016

#100DaysofPatternCBC challenge....

It’s time for a new #CraftBlogClub challenge and we thought we could try something different which will hopefully inspire us all!

The challenge is to share photos based on a theme every day for 100 days. If you miss a day or pop in and out that is fine it is supposed to be fun, not another thing you have to fit in to your day.  

The theme we have picked is 'pattern'.  We thought this would be something that you could easily find and take photos of regularly regardless of the type of craft you do. It can be fabric prints, something on your craft table or anything that inspires you when you are out about like some fancy brickwork, interesting patterns in the street, basically any pattern from anywhere. Hopefully this will inspire your creative work as well others.

How to take part…

  • Take a photo and share on Instagram and/or Twitter.
  • Use the hashtag #100DaysofPatternCBC so we can see everyone’s photos.
  • This challenge will be running from 10th August until 17th November 2016.  Don’t worry if you miss a day or can’t do it every day just share your photos when you are inspired to.
  • Anyone can join in, it doesn’t matter if you have never taken part in a challenge before or joined our chats (although it would be great if you would like to join us on Tuesday nights for a chat, all the details about us are here).
  • Have fun!

I can’t wait to see your photos!

I’ll be officially launching and chatting about the challenge in tomorrow night’s chat. I hope you can join me from 7pm(BST) over on Twitter.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Upcycle project ~ squeaky dog toy....

My new puppy, Jenson, has inspired my latest crafty make for the latest #CraftBlogClub upcycling challenge.

The challenge was launched by Jenniffer Taylor of the #SewingRevolution and Sewing Bee fame and all we had to do was upcycle anything.  So using an old pair of jeans and fleece jumper I decided to make a squeaky dog toy.

What did I use....

  • Old pair of jeans. Denim should be hard wearing enough for my teething pup
  • Old fleece jumper for the chew ties
  • Matching thread
  • Polyester toy filler
  • Dog toy squeaker. I used Kong replacement squeakers which I bought from my local independent pet store but they are also available online.
  • This tutorial by Laura Griffin which includes a template.

It was a great opportunity to dust off my sewing machine.

Laura's instructions were easy to follow and it only took me a couple of hours to make.

The Finished Dog Toy!

I think it was a big hit with Jenson! As soon a I gave it to him he ran around with it and then hid under the dining room table to play, making sure no one could take it away from him! 

I enjoyed getting my sewing machine out again, I don't use it enough. I am now on the look out for my next sewing project.

Have you taken part in the challenge? Even if you haven't taken part in the challenge but have done an upcycling project I'd love to see it, please share your links below so I can check them out.

Disclaimer: The Amazon links in this post are affiliated