Thursday, 20 October 2016

Sparkly pastel autumn pumpkins (as seen on ITV This Morning)

Sparkly Autumn Pumpkin Centerpiece

Autumn is here and I've been inspired by the pretty pastel pumpkins all over my Instagram feed lately. With Halloween around the corner we'll soon be inundated with scary-faced pumpkins so I though I'd create a pretty Autumn pumpkin table display that can sit and sparkly on our sideboards throughout the rest of Autumn. Perhaps include some scented pine cones so when guests arrive though the autumn period they're greeted by a lovely festive, scented display. The gold and copper leaf you'll be using for this project not only brings the autumn colours inside, it will also come very in handy for the Christmas crafting period too! If you'd like to see me making this project step-by-step on ITV's This Morning you can watch it by clicking here ... Sparkly pumpkins on ITV This Morning.

Happy Autumn folks!

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Tuesday, 11 October 2016

VIDEO DIARY: Behind the scenes - my craft feature on ITV This Morning

Morning all! So here is my video diary with behind the scenes footage from my morning spent at ITV studios - filming my Autumn craft segment for the morning breakfast show 'This Morning' with Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby. I'll be sharing these tutorial with you soon! 

If you can't see the video please click here and if you'd like to watch the whole craft segment on This Morning you can do so by click here ... ITV autumn crafts for your home.

JM x

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Friday, 7 October 2016

A month in pictures - A cosy September

Oh September how lovely you are. So full of colour and cosy promise! As I mentioned in yesterdays post it has been pretty hectic here of late but amid the chaos there has been some lovely moments, some lovely walks and some lovely projects going on at AHC headquarters. I'm so looking forward to the coming months though - I love this season the most I think. The first highlight of September was lighting the first fire ... the lighting of the fire always marks the start of autumn for me and it means several things need to then happen - the logs need to be ordered (done) the wollies come down from the loft (which means several loads of washing but we'll brush over that) the garden needs to be put the bed (I haven't done that yet - and the grass is almost taller than Ralphy) and the winter curtains & blankets need to be aired and hung. But they're all lovely jobs I think (well ... except the wooly washing perhaps). Here's our month in pictures ...

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Thursday, 6 October 2016

Trying and failing to stop and smell the roses ... then change comes a knocking.

Hello all. Well I was about to get cracking on my very late 'month in pictures' but I also felt like just having a chat. I don't do this often I know, but this has been one of the most busiest and stressful months of my year so far. As I write this, I am collapsed in my dressing gown, and I am thoroughly crafted out. Aside from working my regular job, and trying to get my album finished (I'm a singer/songwriter, and I also front the KTBush band and occasionally write songs for other artists too, did I ever tell you that?) I also write this blog and a craft column for the local paper which I think most of you know.

 Anyway, I've been finding it all extremely hard to juggle recently - and I have to admit I'm a little burned out. As you've probably gathered by now I'm a 'look up and smell the roses' kinda girl ... I keep the photo above near my bedside because it reminds me to do just that. I like the simple life, slow-living, and I like moving with the seasons so I'm not sure how I'm managed to fill my days to such an extent I don't currently have time to put the garden to bed, or pick rose hips. I'm not complaining - I just know most of you probably understand - and have faced similar struggles. I love my life and those in it, and I've had some wonderful opportunities plonked in my lap, but I know that in order to be happy and healthy, something has to give ... there's a fine line between being busy, and being overwhelmed isn't there? that feeling of anxiousness, of not being able to keep up. But what should give when nothing can? or at least we think nothing can.
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Friday, 30 September 2016

How to make: Laura Ashley Embellished Tote Bag - with R&B Designs

Last week some fellow crafty bloggers and I spent the most wonderful afternoon at the beautiful Laura Ashley Manor Hotel. I had no idea Laura Ashley had a manor hotel, did you? well it is gorgeous let me tell you. We had a lovely time exploring the grounds, which was followed by a delicious afternoon tea and an afternoon of crafting. The fun and fabulous design duo Russell and Bawden (Amanda Russell & Juliet Bawden) led the workshop, and with their expertise and guidance we made some gorgeous Tote bags - using the latest Laura Ashley Fabric. I haven't used my sewing machine in a while so it was lovely dusting off the cobwebs. Here is my finished Tote bag, along with R&B's step by step instructions on how to make this lovely bag. I accidentally cut one of my shoulder straps so I made it work for me by adding fabric handles! I also embellished the bag using beads from old pieces of jewellery.

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Thursday, 22 September 2016

How to age, antique and distress furniture (using two colours and dark wax)

When you’re browsing thrift shops and furniture shops have you ever wondered how they make pieces of furniture look so old, faded and shabby? painting and distressing is one way to go about it, but it doesn’t necessarily make it look old. So what is the secret I hear you ask? well as you're all so lovely I will tell you. It’s DARK WAX! Now I know the thought of smothering your beautiful piece of furniture with what looks like black shoe polish is a daunting idea, I was reluctant myself but it really does work wonders. So to give you a demonstration I've made over some of my dining chairs, and I used the opportunity to experiment with two-tone furniture distressing too! Once you've tried this you'll realise just how easy it is to transform your furniture. Read on ...

How to age, antique and distress furniture using two-colours & dark wax

Two-colour distressing technique

Two-tone distressing is when you use two different, one on top of the other couple - then sand back to reveal some of the colour underneath. It can be a strong or subtle affect depending on the colour and type of paint you use. I wanted a subtle affect for these chairs so I painted these chairs white - followed by a light grey, and it worked perfectly.

Annie Sloan painting technique - before and after

Ronseal recently sent me some of their chalk furniture paint to use for this project which I was really impressed with (along with their precision paint brushes). I especially love their shade of Dove grey, it's the perfect shade of grey. I’m now looking around the house for other things to use it on, but Ralphy won’t sit still for long enough :-) Please note: That was joke ... no doggies were harmed in the making over of these chairs.

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