Merchant and Mills

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We shared our trip to Rye recently, but we left out a big bit - Merchant & Mills! This shop was awesome and made such an impression on us that we felt it deserved its own deadicated post. If you get the opportunity, do click above and check out their website; we’re big fans of their utilitarian style.

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Merchant & Mills is a drapery that sells beautifully designed sewing gear, fabrics and patterns. As soon as we walked in, we wanted EVERYTHING. Their styling is difficult to resist and we walked away with a dress pattern and a long list of future purchases we’d like to make (I’ll hopefully be sharing the dress pattern soon and letting you know how I got on). We fell in love with their sewing kit too.

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To top it all off, the customer service in Merchant & Mills was brilliant. They were kind, incredibly helpful and friendly. We chatted about sewing and photography, and they even let us ‘borrow’ a bit of their wifi that we were sorely in need of. All in all, we were incredibly impressed and hope to visit again soon.

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Make a Pen Case

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Dr D wanted a case for his pencil because the sharp lead poked through his trouser pocket and so I saw both a craft AND a present opportunity and obliged with this!

It makes a great quick make for anyone but do also consider it for Father’s Day – AND it is SO easy.

Ingredients:

  • some fab cotton
  •  paper to make a patter (I used A4 copy paper)
  • a short length of ribbon (off an old box of chocolates)
  • scissors, need and thread

How I did it:

I made a template by measuring two and three quarters the length of my pen/pencil and the width. (Make the width comfortable because you do not want it too tight. Now before cutting out the paper, add your seam allowance to the four sides of your oblong. Cut out your oblong, fold in half, and taper just one end to make a rounded point like the one shown below.

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Cut out two pieces in your fabric, turn right sides facing and before you sew around the edge, position your ribbon a little down from the blunt end (between the two layers). Sew around the edge, leaving a gap for turning through (as shown below).

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 Very carefully snip some notches into the tapered end (be careful not to snip into the seam) and also trim off the corners so that when you turn the case through, it is not too bulky.

Turn the case through and push a blunt instrument (such as a chopstick) into the corners to help you.  Lightly press.  Hand sew up the gap you left for turning.

Finally fold your case over so that the ribbon is on the top (as shown below), check that your pen/pencil sits nicely in it (adjust if necessary), and hand sew down each side.

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 Take a note Dr D – no more holey trousers!

Finished Blanket!

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Thank you for bearing with me.  It took a while… but I finally made it and I am so pleased with the results (although I must smooth my sheets more carefully to show it off to its full potential!)  You might remember that I started this after attending a Nicki Trench intermediate crochet workshop where she shared a wonderfully easy ripple pattern with me. I started the blanket in earnest, but (and this was a big BUT) I suddenly realised about a third of the way through that my initial chain row was too long.

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I had to face the fact that I would either need to unravel what I had already done or live with it.  Well, I draped what I had done over my bed and it dropped onto the floor on both sides.  Even Dr D commented, ‘That certainly is a big blanket.’ When I told him that I was going to take it all out, he told me not to, and to live with it, ‘After all, a big blanket is good.  You can always fold it in half.’

But no, I knew it had to go.  Not only was it far too big, but it was too heavy.  At that size and weight I would have had to have used a hoist to get it onto the bed – and it would have cost a lot more to complete.

No, it had to go, so one night I unravelled it.  In fact it took longer than I thought.  However, strangely, crocheting up the smaller version was quicker than I thought too and I had soon used up all the wool (mind you, the size 9 crochet hook helped).

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So here it is.  All the colours and shapes of the Carnac seaside for me to enjoy out of season.

Bonne nuit!

Peanut Butter Cookies

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And so continues our 20 Brilliant Biscuits feature! In March we shared Brown Butter Cookies and today we’ve got Peanut Butter Cookies. These biscuits are a bit of a guilty pleasure for me because my boyfriend is allergic to nuts. I don’t get to eat them often and we all know how delicious peanut butter is so I get cravings. But these biscuits satisfy my every nut dream and they are SO easy to make.

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The ingredients and instructions are all here, along with a handy video that walks you through the process step-by-step, but if you’re a seasoned baker then you’ll be making these with your eyes closed. I didn’t change the recipe at all accept to swap out crunchy peanut butter for smooth (all I had in).

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Last year I made these as a small gift for a friend to say ‘thank you’ and they were a hit! I sometimes think that a bit of home baking for a loved one is far nicer than an extravagant present. It makes a change from gifting someone bubble bath too.

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Sprinkle a bit of brown sugar on these babies when they’re out of the oven and you’re done!

 

A Trip to Rye

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So before things got crazy and hectic, we went on a family expedition (pooches included) to Rye. Rye isn’t far from where we live, being just outside of Kent, but it’s renowned for its beauty that counts even celebrities as fans *cough* Bob Geldof *cough*.

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This was another caravan trip and it was a short excursion to get us limbered up for our family holiday later this summer. As per, we all ended up having an awesome time in the caravan and none of us wanted to leave at the end of the weekend. The town of Rye was so pretty and – important for us – so dog friendly! Our pooches, Boo and Delilah, were welcomed into shops, cafes and people’s homes! We were particularly psyched when the owner of Fletcher’s (a delicious restaurant and cafe) ushered us in to meet his two miniature schnauzers. He let Boo and Delilah sit under the table while we stopped for some cake, and the chef even came out to say hello to our canine babies. Anywhere that loves dogs is a winner in my book.

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There was no part of this weekend that wasn’t throughly enjoyable. The caravan park was situated in the rolling hills of Hythe with roman ruins studding the horizon and the largest dog-walking area we’ve ever seen (practically a field). We were so sad to leave, but we ended the trip with a lovely, early-morning walk along the beach, introducing Delilah to sand for the first time (she loved it).

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So if you’re looking for somewhere to take a short break this summer then we’d recommend Rye for sure!

Georgia xxx

Life Right Now

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June was a bit of a crazy month for us here at Honey Rose Crafts… hence the radio silence. I finished my degree and moved back home, went on a celebratory ‘goodbye’ holiday with my friends and then completed a mission trip with OM (more to come on this at a later date). While all of this was going on, poor Karen was running around supporting everyone in the family (as mums do) and our little household was very hectic. July, hopefully, will be more peaceful.

While writing this blog post, I’m feeling excited. I’ve missed Honey Rose Crafts. I’ve missed creating content and although I am very sorry for the blip in contact, I am very excited about how refreshed and exhilarated I feel for more blogging adventures. I’m itching to crack out my sewing machine again along with a needle and thread. I’m also pretty excited to share some of what has been going on for us while we’ve been away (so to speak).

So hello again everyone out there! Expect the usual crafts, recipes and lifestyle posts very soon.

May: Lately I’m…

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May is almost over, but we thought that we’d do an early ‘life’ post this week and sneak it in.

Loving… all of my favourite craft and lifestyle blogs. We’ve got a list here of the one’s we like. 

Watching… Orange is the New Black, a Netflix series. Season 2 is set to come out soon so I need to get on with finishing season 1.

Reading… A LOT of things. Which is really good. At the moment it’s A Rural Affair by Catherine Alliott, which is total comfort-food. I’ll be finishing this one very soon.

Thinking… of the exciting and scary summer plans ahead.

Eating… berries! I’m feeling summery.

Making… a notebook cover like the one we featured for a friend as a thank-you present.

Dreaming… about traveling. I’m not sure that I’ll ever be able to do that ‘Gap Year’ thing, but I would love to travel in the future.

Hoping… that all of my plans work out okay and simultaneously that I don’t let anyone down – I think it’s kind of an anxious period at the moment.

Using… my days off to catch up on reading and watching and quality time with friends.

Feeling… nervous and a little sad. A chapter of my life is closing (I’m leaving university) and I’m far more emotional and sentimental about it than I thought that I would be.

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Sewing Hoop Art

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Today we’ve got a super easy, but super fun little craft project for you. I made this for a friend for her birthday last month and I had so much fun doing it. I was inspired by the work of both Dottie Angel and Flamingo Toes, and I was building on a previous piece that I made my mum for mother’s day and shared right here on Honey Rose Crafts.

I met my friend through Christianity Explored and so a bible quote was the way to go with this piece. I picked something short and simple, but heat-warming too. I practised writing it out (I always do this) on a piece of scrap paper and then I grabbed myself a fabric pen and drew my outline onto the fabric.

The fabric was a pretty floral scrap that I had leftover from a quilt I made a few years ago and it was just big enough to fit in the hoop (plus I thought that it looked cute and girly). Next, I simply picked out a needle and thread and sewed a straight stitch onto the fabric.

Lastly, I trimmed around the edges with some scissors – I love the way this piece looks scrappy in a good way.

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I enjoyed doing this so much, I think that I’m going to have to continue adapting the idea!

 

Georgia xxx

Nicki Trench Crochet Workshop

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Oh my goodness, I have been waiting to tell you all about this!  I used some of my birthday money (’twas in January, but what can you do in January?) to pay for an intermediate crochet class with my all time hero, Nicki Trench.  What a treat it was. Not only was Nicki divine in herself, but also the workshop was in her delightful home in pictorial East Sussex.

To start with we were surrounded by many of Nicki’s crocheting designs and in fact my lovely caravan rug, which I am making very little by very little when in the caravan, was actually there.  It was so pretty that it has certainly inspired me to carry on with it. It was a small workshop and so we managed to get Nicki’s full attention for the whole day.

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We started off by Nicki giving us a taste of her work and showing us some sneak previews of her up and coming patterns and ideas.  How exciting was that? Then we began by sampling this wonderful hexagon which is going to feature in Nicki’s new book.

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After that, we started on patterns and fancy stitches.  We tried ripple patterns (my finished blanket coming soon), popcorn patterns and several others. We then stopped for lunch – a wonderful homemade casserole with freshly baked bread and fruit salad for afters.

Following lunch we worked on reading patterns.  I had never done that before but found that I had a real affinity for it – but I had to concentrate. More tea cake followed (naturally). Well, it helps with the concentration. Finally, Nikki sent us on our way with ideas, inspiration (and I could not help myself from buying some wool and a really cool crochet hook set).

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All in all it was a wonderful day.  It sent my creative juices into orbit and really did expand and stretch my crocheting skills.  It was so good that I want to go again!  After all there is always more you can learn.  If you are interested in going on one of Nicki’s courses, please look here – she has everything from beginners to advanced.  She also runs a great crochet club whereby you receive a pattern every month, backed up with excellent help and on line tuition. The details are here.

Now just off to do another round.  Can a girl have too many blankets? I think not!

Karen x

Simple Flower Arrangement

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Have you ever had the situation where you need to pull a gift together fast? Well, I find that a quick flower arrangement never fails to hit the mark. You don’t need to be a florist to produce a quick arrangement that will thrill your host all you need are a few cheap essentials and ten minutes of your time.

The ingredients:

  • A pot or base (an old saucer is fine)
  • A chunk of oasis
  • Pot/oasis tape
  • Green foliage (I raided the garden)
  • Flowers (again I raided the garden)

First cut the oasis with a knife to the size of your base, but make sure that it stands taller than the rim of the base (if your base has a recess make sure the oasis is twice as tall). If your oasis is not taller than the rim you will not be able to stick the stems in horizontally.

Now soak the oasis in clear water until it has absorbed the water (it will darken in colour).

NOTE: you do not have to hold down the oasis or stand anything on it – it will do its own thing in less than five minutes.

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Now tape your oasis down into your base or saucer. Your display will be top heavy when you have finished and you don’t want it tipping over into your host’s hands.

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Start adding your foliage first. Snip off any leaves close to the stem where it will be inserted into the oasis. Push the stem in firmly and angle certain stems to give an outer shape.

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When you have the shape you want, fill in all the gaps so that the oasis is completely covered. Do this by snipping off smaller pieces of foliage and inserting them at different heights.

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Now add your flowers. Try to go for an odd number – 5 or 7 look most attractive (although as you can see from the top picture I could not help pushing a few more in!!)

Give and enjoy the reaction you receive!

Karen x