Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Ralphy and Snowdog - A Christmas message




Dear all. The house is twinkling, the cards are sent, the presents are wrapped and after one more day of work I'm off for Crimbles! So before I switch off I just wanted to drop you a message to say a big Happy Christmas to you all. Thank you so much for being such lovely friends and followers this year, you really do make this blog a pleasure for me to write. Have a safe, and peaceful time this Christmas and all the very best for the year ahead. I shall leave you with Ralphy, who insisted on writing his own message to you. 

With much love, 
JM x

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Friday, 16 December 2016

How to make: Rustic Twig Candle Holder

I've been meaning to post this little project for a while as it's such a lovely autumn / winter decoration. It's also a super quick make (15 minutes!) so if you were looking to make some last minute gifts for nature lovers this Christmas, or indeed any time of year, this lovely woodland candle would go down a treat. It looks beautiful twinkling away on the mantle, and costs pennies to make - simply embellish to your own taste, with berries, acorns, or beads and buttons!





You will need:

Lichen covered Twigs - straight twigs of a similar thickness.
Glass tumbler or candle holder
Brown string or twine
Acorn / berries to decorate
Glue gun or tacky all purpose glue
Pruning shears 
Tealight


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Thursday, 8 December 2016

Festoon ceiling garland decoration + for Christmas or Weddings




If you fancy doing something a bit different with your Christmas decorations this year, here is a very pretty and affective way to add sparkly to your festive season. This string of ceiling decorations are so easy to make and you can easily adapt it to your own style. I had a lot of leftover baubles so I came up with this garland to make use of them. I like to keep mine simple with brown string, fairy lights and mis-matched baubles but you could easily keep them uniform or even add tinsel! 

You will need:

A length of brown string / twine / ribbon

Battery operated wire fairy lights in silver or copper

Selection of baubles 

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Thursday, 1 December 2016

A month in pictures - November


It's nearly CRIMBLES!!! YEEEHAAA!!!! I'm a big fan of Christmas (can you tell?) and my decorations will be going up this weekend. We returned from an incredible week in the wild and wonderful North Wales last week. It was so beautiful dear reader, if you've never been I highly recommend it. I had to pinch myself on several occasions because the scenery was so utterly breathtaking. We walked through sun, rain and snow - up mountains and in actual fairytale moss-covered forests with waterfalls! At one point I'm sure we even entered frost-covered Narnia! I'll share some pictures with you soon. In the meantime the only thing that's cheering me up is the promise of CHRISTMAS!!!!! Here's our month in pictures x



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Thursday, 17 November 2016

Fairy light tree centrepiece for autumn, weddings, christmas or easter

My neighbour recently cut back one of the bushes in his garden ... so when I spied a stack of lovely long branches sat by his recycling bin a little lightbulb went off in my head! You only need a few elements for this project. I've adapted it for Autumn by adding pine cones to the base, and copper and gold skeleton leaves on the branches which look gorgeous sparkling in the glow of the fairy lights, but you could easily swap the pine cones for baubles and give the branches a spritz of spray snow for Christmas! then come easter perhaps hang some decorative eggs from the branches and add some straw in the base? Whatever takes your fancy this is a lovely affective centrepiece that takes no time at all.


Decorative branches & fairy light tree centrepiece (for autumn, weddings, christmas & easter)

You will need: 

4 branches
Glass vase
Selections of pine cones / conkers / baubles
String of battery operated fairy lights
Pack of gold and copper skeleton leaves 
Glue gun or all purpose glue

TIP: If you'd like to use real autumn leaves for this project gather a selection of small leaves and press them for a week or two, then glue away! 


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Sunday, 13 November 2016

Trench Art + Remembrance Sunday


Trench Art from World War 1


It's remembrance Sunday today. Remembrance Day in the United Kingdom honours the heroic efforts, achievements and sacrifices that were made in past wars. I wasn't planning on blogging, but I received something this week which I'd really like to share with you, and especially today, of all days. Yesterday a relative of mine sent me some 'Trench Art' that that has been passed down through the family. It was made in the trenches during the First World War. To be quite honest with you, I had know idea what Trench Art even was, I wasn't aware of it's existence! These beautiful objects were made by soldiers, many of which were often crafted out of old shell casings. 

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Friday, 11 November 2016

Eliza's Book of Whimsy - Q&A with author Elizabeth Henry


It has been a while since I've had a guest on the blog, and I'm super excited to be sharing this with you today. Today's guest is author Elizabeth Henry, who has recently published a book of poetry called 'Eliza's Book of Whimsy' which you may have seen featured in this months edition of Landlove magazine. It is an enchanting book, full to the brim with nature-inspired imagery and charm.  Elizabeth's philosophy on life is 'simple pleasure' and with that in mind she has fashioned a collection of poems to cheer, uplift and satisfy the spirit. With poems such as 'The faerie Glen', 'The Hedgerow' and 'The forsaken Garden' it would be a delightful read (or gift!) for adults and children alike, and the beautiful illustrations by artist Delphine Jones compliment the poems perfectly. Here's a sneak peek into 'Eliza's Book of Whimsy' along with an entertaining Q&A session with the author herself.


Eliza's Book of Whimsy

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Tuesday, 1 November 2016

A month in pictures - A spooky October


Well last night was Halloween night, and I managed to work my way through most of the sweets I had bought for the neighbourhood kiddies ... happens every year, and I know I'm not the only one. Hubby turns into a big kid on Halloween night and takes great pleasure in scaring the children that are foolish enough to come to our door. Last night he found some super spooky music (creaky doors / sound of children singing nursery rhymes over an organ playing in a minor key etc etc) so each time there was a knock, the music would play and he'd open the door wearing a cloak and holding a candelabra. The kids were unfazed, and walked straight to the sweetie basket! I think their parents appreciated it more. Ralphy was oblivious of course, if not slightly confused. I had organised a ghost walk for my town which went really well! We roamed the streets, torches in hand, passing other ghost hunters on our travels. They all seemed to really enjoy it, so I'm really pleased. Aside from all things spooky it's been a lovely month of Autumn walks, crafting and with the chilly nights upon us I've rediscovered my love of knitting. Here's out month in pictures ... PS. Did you see last weeks Poldark? well I never! 



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Thursday, 27 October 2016

The Bishops Stortford Ghost Walk

Ever since I was a little girl I've been intrigued by the supernatural. Whether or not you believe in such things, there is no denying the mystery that surrounds local legends - and the spooky tales that are handed down through the ages can send a shiver of excitement down even the most sceptical of spines. So with Halloween on the horizon I decided to do a little research into the history of my town - Bishops Stortford. In all honesty I was blown away by the sheer scale of ghostly happenings that have occurred in this little town of mine, and with the help of my fearless young niece Georgia, and using author Jenni Kemp's book Haunted Stortford as our guide, we set off on an adventure of our own. We spoke to locals, investigated haunted locations and yes I admit, we also sang the theme tune from Ghostbusters on more than once occasion. So please join us on a virtual tour of our haunted town, and if you live locally and you'd like to take part in person simply grab your torch, print out this map and instructions and venture out into the streets of Bishops Stortford on Halloween night! As you arrive at each premises you'll find these stories on the windows of each haunted premises. As a spooky bonus, if you present the map when you arrive at the Star Inn pub you’ll get a free pint of cask ale, a hot drink or a Virgin Mary to help calm your nerves and warm your cockles! Tweet to let me know how you get on with the hashtag #bishopsstortfordghostwalk.




For those taking part in person on Halloween: This is not a guided tour, simply take your cut-out map and instructions and go at your own pace. When you arrive at each destination you’ll find the details of each haunting so you can read them aloud to your companions. Spoiler alert! I've included the stories below for those who can't make the walk in person so if you'd rather read it on the ghost walk simply skip to the instructions. This walk does not include any actors or ‘frights' - other than those you create yourself! But do note it may not be suitable for young children, as some of the stories contain adult content.

You will need:

A torch
Some courage
Flask of hot toddy (optional)
Waterproofs in case of rain!

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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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Thursday, 8 September 2016

How to make: Pressed flower lampshade + using hydrangea petals



As we near the end of summer I decided to make use of some of the flowers I pressed earlier in the year. Hydrangea petals are ideal for making pressed flower projects because they are so pretty and delicate. I don’t know about your hydrangea bushes but mine are still in blooming, so if you fancy making this pretty pressed flower lampshade you should still have time! Simply pick the petals, make sure they are nice and dry and lie them flat in a press or inside a heavy book for a week or two, then you can begin.



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Friday, 2 September 2016

A month in pictures - August




Hi Folks, well it's the end of August. Boo! Actually you I don't mean that, you know me well enough by now to know I love the autumn and the cosiness it brings, but I shan't be wishing away what's left of our summer just yet. I know August can feel like the end of summer for many .... kids are back to school, mums everywhere heave a sigh of relief, and the word 'Christmas' starts popping up in conversations but here in the UK September is such a beautiful month too, so I'm happy to stay in the moment for a little while longer. We've had a lovely August here at AHC. Ralphy and I had a birthday and although we haven't escaped for a holiday yet we've had some lovely days spent with our friends and family, and the good weather also meant I could tackle some bigger craft projects! Here's out month in pictures .... 

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Thursday, 25 August 2016

UP-CYCLE PROJECT: French Style Welsh Dresser Makeover

French Style Welsh Dresser Makeover


Earlier this month I was invited to do a Homebase DIY Challenge, trying some of their products for a makeover project of my choosing. I had a look around my little home and there was one piece of furniture that was crying out for some TLC - my little welsh dresser. Now I do like some pieces of furniture left dark but when you live in a little house as I do, you find you need to invite in as much light as possible. So my little welsh dresser visited the AHC beauty parlour! I'm thrilled with her transformation, and I have to say I highly recommend the Rustoleum furniture paint - because not only is it far cheaper than many other brands of chalk paint, it also has a lovely finish and you can apply it straight away, so no need for sanding or undercoat! (it's not that I'm lazy ... well OK actually yes I am.) So here is a step-by-step guide to up-cycling furniture using chalk paint, using distressing techniques and decoupaging for an antique faded floral finish.
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Thursday, 18 August 2016

Guest Post - Artisan eco-gifts handmade in Ukraine


I recently stumbled upon a quirky little website called myfancycraft which sells a variety of unusual gifts and handmade crafts, made by craftsmen (and women) from all over Ukraine. Each product is made by hand using eco – friendly materials.




I had a little browse, and came upon this lovely nature-inspired collection on their website which is made from slavic clay. (The wording on the website doesn't translate very well into english but don't let that put you off, their products are lovely and their customer service is great.) I treated myself to a mug and jug (as I do have a bit of a 'Jug' obsession) they also make a teapot in the same range (see below). They arrived slightly more 'glazed' than it shows to the pictures but they are lovely all the same. Would make a lovely christmas gift for a nature-lover don't you think?



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Thursday, 11 August 2016

Canal folk art with Duncan Burrett

This week I had a wonderful afternoon chatting with Canal folk artist Duncan Burrett, who is owner and captain of a delightful narrowboat called 'Zendu' that is moored on the River Stort. Duncan has lived on the boat for 22 years with wife Zena. Ralphy and I often stop to admire Zendu, because not only is she the prettiest boat along the canal, but Duncan also sells a wonderful selection of old antiques and wares on the top of his boat which he paints in the famous 'Canal folk art' style. I have always loved the colourful vibrant style of Canal folk art but I didn't know anything about it until meeting Duncan. So when he invited us aboard to show us his work and give us a demonstration, I jumped at the chance. 




Duncan is a self-taught artist and used to specialised in oil paints and animal portraits. But it wasn't until 20 years ago he turned his hand to creating and selling canal folk art. "It started 20 years ago when I was sat on the boat painting a teapot, a lady stopped by and asked if it was for sale, so I told her to come back in 10 minutes and it would be!" Now he even demonstrates in schools, and is often commissioned by other boat owners. Duncan decorates all sorts with this style, especially old fashioned wares such as old watering cans, tea pots, urns, and even old boots ... and he also encourages people to bring their own objects along for him to paint. I had a lovely afternoon with Duncan, we chatted about his life, about the realities of boat-living, the interesting history behind folk art and how to paint in the folk-art style. He also makes a cracking cuppa tea! Read on to hear all about it ...



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Friday, 29 July 2016

A month in pictures - A hot, hot, hot July



Happy July you lovely lot! 

Well, what a July it has been. After moaning about the the weather in last months post it appears the weather-fairies heard me, because the UK has been blazing hot this month! who knew old blighty was still capable of having more than just a few days of summery weather? the girlies have been donning their hats and flip flops, and the men have been sporting their sunburned heads and naked beer bellies (always a treat of course :-)) and over at AHC HQ we've been up to all sorts, though mostly furniture makeovers. Here's our month in pictures ...



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Thursday, 21 July 2016

Water Cottage in Kersey - Suffolk's prettiest village


AHC rustic holiday cottages


Water Cottage is a beautiful 15th Century weaver's cottage in Kersey; Suffolk's prettiest little chocolate box village. Arriving here was like stepping back in time into the wonderful world of Lark rise to Candleford ... if you haven’t seen that TV series or read the book it I highly recommend it, in fact you could watch it while supping hot choccie in front of the fire while you're in your holiday cottage! Water Cottage is a timber framed 'Hall House’ that has been carefully restored to its former glory. The beautiful beamed rooms, antiques and furnishing, along with the cosy wood burner ensure a super cosy atmosphere in a well furnished, well equipped, luxurious cottage. There are wonderful walks straight from the door, quaint old rustic pubs in jumping distance and there’s lots to see and do in the area ... it's also ideal for kiddies and doggies!

Where is it: Quaint village of Kersey, Suffolk
How much: £508 for the week
Pets: 2 large dogs excepted
Sleeps: 5/6


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Thursday, 14 July 2016

Floral & faded wood tutorial - using napkins! (plus how to make a fire-pit table)




I absolutely love the old worn and faded ‘floral-pattern-on-wood' look, and I've been meaning to have a go at achieving it for some time. I finally got around to it this week and I'm so happy with the outcome. It's incredibly effective and so easy to do. You can achieve this lovely faded worn look on any wood surface, and it looks especially good on tables, drawers, chairs, welsh dressers and wooden trays. I'm going to try this on my welsh dresser next but first I wanted to give my copper fire pit a makeover. Since I have a small garden I decided to make use of space by giving the fire pit a dual purpose - so I had a piece of wood cut for the top of it, so when it's not being a fire pit it can be used as a table! this provided the ideal surface for my experiment!


decoupaging wood with floral napkins

A floral wood tabletop tutorial

How to make a fire pit table top


My cosy little seating area looks so pretty now, and if you're admiring my new Peru wooden deckchair loungers you'll find these at Homebase, and they cost £99 for a pair. I absolutely love them, they look so natural and blend into the garden perfectly, they're also incredibly comfy and come with a head rests! I also headed to Homebase for my varnish and hand-held sander (links are below.) You could use simple sandpaper sheets for this, wrapped around a wooden block but I love the smooth finish of a sander, and I’ve used it on a range of projects time and time again.  

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Thursday, 30 June 2016

A month in pictures - June

Hello poppets, well it's June and I'm sitting here, dog on lap, surrounded by soggy tissues because I have a stinking cold! Boo. Where has our summer gone? has anyone seen it? was that sunny weekend back in May it? a mere blip of warmth until next year? All my winter bits are now stowed away in the loft and I'm desperately trying to kid myself that my summer dressing gown has sufficient cosiness, when what I really want is my big furry dressing gown and big slippers but I shall resist! Still, at least our plants are getting a good water :-) Here's our month in pictures ....



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Thursday, 16 June 2016

The Coach House - A romantic hideaway in Suffolk


Cottage holiday home - The Coach House in Suffolk


Last December our little trio (that's me, hubby and Ralphy the dog of course) headed to Suffolk for a relaxing pre-Christmas holiday. As soon as I saw The Coach House on cottages.com I was smitten - it's a beautifully decorated, rustic, detached converted stable featuring it's own 2 acre woodland! Set in a lovely rural location between the historic market towns of Framlingham and Saxmundham, and while it's an wonderful spot for walking, rambling and cycling, it's also perfect for exploring the quaint little villages of Suffolk and spending the day at the idillic seaside towns of Southwold and Aldeburgh. As you know I usually prefer my holiday cottages to be completely secluded, but while the owner does live close by, you can rest assured you'll be left well alone (though he's such a lovely man it was a pleasure bumping into him when we did.) This was our stay at The Coach House.

Where is it: Suffolk
Price from: £441 for a week
Pets: 2 welcome
Sleeps: 2


The Coach House - Photograph courtesy of cottages.com

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Thursday, 9 June 2016

Cutting the riboon for Cooper's new craft department

A couple of weeks ago I was delighted to be invited down to my local Coopers department store to cut the ribbon for their new craft department. I walked down the red carpet as the crowds lined the streets and cheered me on (!) .... okay well that's not quite true, it wasn't as glam as all that, but my little craft club 'The Cottage Crafters' were there in full attendance because we are over the moon about the new craft department, as will the rest of our local crafters be when they discover it for themselves.


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Wednesday, 1 June 2016

A month in pictures - May

Hello all, I hope this finds you all well in your worlds. We've had a lovely month of May in AHC headquarters. Hubby and I escaped to the country for a few days to celebrate our anniversary which was just what I needed ... we stayed in a gorgeous little cottage in a little 'chocolate-box' village in Suffolk, which I'll be sharing with you soon. We've also had some lovely walks and I've enjoyed some crafty challenges this month too! Here's my month in pictures ...



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Wednesday, 18 May 2016

How to make a flower crown + for weddings, festivals and flowers girls

A few weeks back I was invited to take part in a blogger challenge by the Luxury Silk Bedding company Gingerlily. I love a crafty challenge so I was more than happy to join in the fun. We were sent a box of silk flowers and some other bits and bobs, and with the Chelsea Flower Show as our inspiration we were told we could create anything we wanted using the silk flowers as our main element of inspiration. 


how to make a flower crown


For a day or two I kept wandering past the flowers on my craft table, while I waited for them to shout out to me and tell me what it is they wanted to become - I toyed with a fairy garden, then a summer dining display ... but these flowers were so pretty I wanted to wear them ... so I asked myself in what scenario could such flowers be worn? of course ... weddings and festivals!! So here is my floral crown - inspired by the fresh flower crown I made for my own wedding day. This would be perfect for a flower girl, a bride, and I'll certainly be dancing around wearing it at festivals this summer :-)


How to make a flower crown

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Thursday, 12 May 2016

My new craft room + storage for small spaces


Finally ... here is my new workshop craft room! This used to be our music room (AKA hubby's man cave) but since he's moved it to other premises it now mean Jodie Podie has a CRAFTY ROOM! We gave it a lick of paint and I went about sourcing myself a new craft table and some rustic storage. Welcome to the new AHC headquarters ....


creating a craft room


Tips on sourcing a workshop / craft table

The first thing I wanted was a rustic craft table. They're expensive to buy so I created one, which I've already showed you in my previous post: How to make a scandi-chic trestle table. Trestle tables are ideal for craft rooms & workshops as they are collapsable, should you need to make room for large floor-projects. The top of my table has two large holes which is ideal for threading my sewing machine leads through. I also pop my bin under the other one and knock through any rubbish / threads. Is so nice being able to leave the sewing machine set up for long periods of time, it means I actually use it. 



rustic trestle table
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Tuesday, 3 May 2016

A month in pictures - April


It’s May - the bluebells are in full bloom and buds are bursting all over. We had a lovely walk at the weekend. It was a new walk and we got lost twice and had to find our way through woodlands, over babbling brooks and fields. Getting lost is truly one of my favourite things … I just love it. It’s one of the few times I find I’m able to stay fully mindful and in the present. When I find myself on a walk I’ve done a hundred times before, I find it so easy to let my mind wander back to work, back to chores that need doing, back to the mundane ‘to-do’ list. I try so hard to stay in the moment, and it frustrates me that I can’t always leave such things behind. So escaping for the day, and getting lost is sometimes exactly what I need because there’s nowhere to be but right here, in the moment. How strange that it takes getting lost, in order to feel found? Oh that’s quite profound for a Tuesday afternoon eh? Anyhoos. I’m sharing my new craft room later this week. It’s still finding its feet, but it’ll be nice to show you where I’ve been crafting of late. In the meantime, here’s our month in pictures!



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Thursday, 21 April 2016

Bishops Stortford Craft & Farmers Market



I love farmers markets, so I was pleased as punch when a monthly craft & farmers market popped up in my hometown. Wandering around the market with my little basket, I tasted cheese, chatted to the local sellers and was reminded of bygone days - when food was grown, sourced and reared locally, by local people. This is how our grandparents brought groceries on a daily basis. But such produce seems to be a luxury to us nowadays. I know many would argue the produce at such markets can be overpriced compared to your local supermarket, but it's vitally important to recognise the difference between the two. Much of our supermarket food is mass produced in factories, and crammed full with preservatives and (cheap) artificial ingredients to ensure a good profit. So while it may not be practical to buy from a farmers market on a daily basis, treating ourselves and our bodies to fresh, quality produce when we can, whilst also supporting the lifeblood of local family businesses, really is worth every penny, and it makes for a such lovely afternoon out! Here are some of my highlights ...
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Thursday, 7 April 2016

DIY rustic 'scandi chic' farmhouse trestle table

As you know I've got a new craft room! I'm going to show you the room in detail very soon, but first I wanted to show you my new craft table. I wanted a strong, rustic trestle table for my craft room so I went looking for one online. I was flabbergasted to learn just how expensive there are … with cheaper ones starting around £170 and nice rustic vintage ones between £600 - £1000! They are beautiful of course but goodness, that’s a family holiday! So in true AHC stylie I decided to make my own. I'm so happy I did, as the table below only cost me £45. This would make a lovely farmhouse-style or scandi-chic dining table … and it would also be ideal for al fresco family dining as it can be easily dismantled. You could also paint and distress the legs for a lovely shabby-chic look. I might paint these legs, but the character of the bare, aged wood has really grown on me so I'm keeping it 'au natural' for now. 



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Wednesday, 30 March 2016

A month in pictures - March


Hi all, and happy Easter! I hope this finds you all safe and well after a choccie-fuelled family weekend! We've just returned from a lovely weekend with the in-laws. I made decoupaged eggs with my little niece and nephew - and they did enjoyed it, but not nearly as much as my hubby and his mum did! It's been a busy month here but there so much I've been wanting to share with you .. I still haven't gotten around to showing you my new craft room! but I shall, once it's tidy and once hubby stops using my new craft table as his 'floordrobe' (floordrobe is hubby's new word for the pile of clothes he leaves in one corner of the bedroom, he thinks that giving it a name, legitimises it's  existence - his inventiveness did make me laugh ... until 'floordrobe' reared it's messy head on my craft table!) Anyway, here's our month in pictures ... 



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Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Easy Peasy String Bunting




My good friend Poppy recently invited me to guest on her blog again! (bless her lovely cotton socks) so as Spring is finally on her way I'd thought I'd celebrate all things bright and beautiful by making some easy peasy bunting to decorate the house and garden with! This bunting is by far the easiest bunting you can make, it takes one hour to make and can be adapted to suit any occasion or season, be it Easter, summer garden parties and BBQs, birthdays, weddings or Christmas ... AND you don't need advanced sewing skills! Simply choose your fabric, whip up your bunting and you'll have some lovely decorations to use year after year.

So if you fancy joining us for some bunting fun pop over to Poppy's gorgeous blog today!

Easy peasy bunting at poppyloves.co.uk

JM x






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Thursday, 10 March 2016

Decoupaged easter egg tree decorations


Decoupage easter egg tree decorations


With easter almost upon us I wanted to make some pretty decoupaged eggs to decorate a branch with for easter weekend. So my craft group and I had a fun-filled day of making. I used real duck eggs for this project and we found they worked much better that plastic ones but you could use whatever you prefer. This is a lovely little project and it took me just two hours to decorate six eggs. It would also be an ideal project for kiddies too - just be prepared to make a lot of egg-based dishes afterwards :-)


Decorated easter egg tree decorations

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Thursday, 3 March 2016

This month in pictures - February


Hi popsicles! I hope this finds you all well on this chilly March morning. I've just been for a brisk walk with Sir Ralfred .... my hands and toes are icy cold and I can't WAIT for summer to warm our cockles now. As much as I love the cosiness of autumn and winter, I'm so ready for flip flops and hazy days now. Roll on bluebells and bring forth the sunshine! This was our month in pictures ....



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