Travel Diaries: Holidaying at Home

at-home-6at-home-2at-home-1at-home-4at-home-3So we shared the story of our caravan holiday that was brought to an abrupt end, but today I wanted to show you what we did instead. Although we never made it onto the second half of our journey, we still wanted to make the most of the time we had together as a family so we devised a few trips to local national trust places and stately homes.

Karen said that when she brought a life membership to the national trust for our family yonks ago, she did it with the intention that if we couldn’t afford to go aboard together, we would always be able to visit beautiful sites on day trips. Thankfully, we have had some wonderful holidays together abroad, but our life memberships have always come in handy – and they definitely did this time!

Although there was great worry and sadness in our lives at this time, we were still able to go out together and spend time as a family, which is really what a holiday is all about. I look back at these photos now and think, ‘where did all that sun go?’ It’s well and truly autumn here and soon we’ll be sharing some autumn inspired cozy posts with you all.

 

Tea with Laura Lee Designs

We are big fans of Laura Lee here at Honey Rose Crafts! We first discovered her at the Country Living show when we chatted to her dad about her gorgeous designs. A while ago we (virtually) sat down with Laura for tea and asked her a few questions about what it’s like to be a creative and work for yourself.

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1: Mug or cup?

Ohh… now that’s a hard one, being a ceramic artist I use an assortment of beverage holders! A cats teacup and saucer at my studio, a flamingo mug for breakfast tea, a Retro Flowers teacup and saucer when friends are around and one of my pint mugs in the sheep design when there’s serious work to be done!

 

2: Assam? Darjeeling? Or any other blend?

English breakfast tea is very special to me, it reminds me of lazy mornings with my husband, Matt, of which there are very few! I also love a blackberry or peppermint tea, it really awakens the senses!

 

3: How do you take your tea?

Strong but with a good amount of milk unless it’s a fruit or peppermint tea, in which case I like it just on it’s own.

 

4: Cake or biscuit? (Or whatever else you prefer to eat with tea, if anything)

Ohhh…I love a tunnocks tea cake or anything that reminds me of parties really! Something fun!

 

5: What have you been up to today?

Today I’ve been painting a new range of mugs for the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth, it’s been very exciting! I’m also trying to work my way through a big “spring clean” at my workshop which seems to be an everlasting task. We have some new insulation going in for the winter. We also dragged my old sofa up there so I’m looking forward to a very cosy winter of painting with my feet up!

 

6: What’s a normal day like in your life/line of work?

Long! I don’t start very early, but I do work until 3 or 4am during busy times. The morning starts with breakfast, I have three children aged 6, 10 and 14 so I usually spend the early hours with them, getting them ready for and seeing them off to school. Then it’s off to my workshop with a pack of biscuits, a bag of sketches, an ipad, my order book and anything else I’ll need for the day ahead.

My workshop is at my parents smallholding on the top of a hill which helps me to keep my work out of the house. We don’t have internet in the workshop, but I’m allowed to sneak over to the main house and use theirs to keep up with the days messages and orders (it’s also the perfect time to nab a cuppa and have a natter with Mum) Most of my day is spent painting my china pieces but I do stop for regular breaks to feed custard creams to my neighbouring geese and to enjoy the fantastic views I have over the reservoir and hills.

Sometimes after school the children will join me in the workshop and we’ll all watch a little film on my ipad whilst I finish the days painting, The Sound of Music is proving to be a firm favourite at the moment and we can probably be heard by the neighbouring farms singing along to all the songs!

 

7: How do you stay inspired and keep on top of your work?

The inspiration for my work comes from life so it’s all around me, constantly. I have hundreds of scraps of paper covered in sketches, phrases and ideas and as I have a large range of designs already, I’m learning to leave them for the future, rather than developing all into finished pieces straight away. Having said that, I do have a range of new hand painted vases being released one at a time, each one is a one-off piece allowing me to bring a few of my archived designs to life! Keeping on top of my work is becoming an increasing problem as my popularity grows. At the moment it’s managed by long hours, but we have recently released a few printed pieces which are proving to be very popular and are helping to spread the workload.

 

8: Do you work/craft with friends or alone?

I’m very lucky to have my husband a few days a week to help with the general running of the business such as packing parcels and answering the phone, but I will have to look to the future soon and consider a larger premises and some staff!

 

9: What are you working on at the moment?

The Christmas catalogue is under way at the moment. I do all my own product photography so I’ve been carting china around to different locations and snapping away, hoping for something amazing! It’s all trial and error as I have no real training in what I do, I tend to leap into to it and think later, I’m a natural risk taker, but I often find it pays off!

 

10: Do you feel inspired or supported by your community and how does that manifest itself in your craft?

I have a wealth of Cornish collectors who seek me out at local shows and exhibitions. They are always filled with excitement about my work and let all their friends know about me. They are of constant inspiration as I often undertake commissioned work and listen to ideas of what they’d like to see next! I am also captain of the Cornish Artists on Etsy Team which brings together over 75 Cornwall based artists in a forum where they can interact and share ideas and useful contacts, I have made some wonderful friends there.

 

11: How do you interact with your fans?

My main contact with fans is through social media. Facebook is my favourite as it allows me to talk to groups of fans or to message an individual about a specific order. I have made so many personal friends who started as customers but have become much much more. I try to get to know each of my customers personally to make their “Laura Lee” piece as personal to them as possible, many families order a piece for each baby born into their family which is just lovely. We’ve had great fun on facebook this year with our 13th birthday celebrations. At the moment there’s a Laura Lee Designs themed cake bake and a treasure hunt on our website! www.lauraleedesigns.co.uk When the treasure hunt started there were so many thousands of fans rushing to our site that it crashed the server! Which was both terrifying and fantastic at the same time!

 

12: Who is your biggest craft hero?

I’m quite in love with the work of Abigail Brown, I’m sure you’ve heard of her, she makes the most beautiful fabric birds and papier mache animals, I believe her work was in the windows of Libertys recently. I am lucky enough to own a few pieces proudly displayed in my home. I also adore the work of Cornwall based artist Wendy Fyers, she paints the most beautifully detailed animals, I played swapsies with her last Christmas which was great fun! She is hard working with a wonderful sense of humour. I admire how individual both these artists are, it’s very difficult to create a unique and recognisable style, and to stay true to it.

 

13: What blogs are you currently following?

I don’t really have time to look through blogs but my fellow artist and friend Pipany has a lovely little blog that I like to read, it’s a lovely look at family life as an artist in Cornwall.

 

14: What exciting things are happening on the craft scene for you right now?

I’ve just been accepted at the Christmas Crackers exhibition at Sheffield Museum for the second year running which I’m looking forward to. The staff there are lovely and it’s always a joy to be part of the event. I’m also looking at having an open studio day on the run up to Christmas, which I know will be well attended if I can get it tidy enough!

 

15: What do you hope to explore in the future?

I stock galleries throughout the UK and in L.A. with my hand painted china which is wonderful. I would like to stock more galleries and shops but as my work is limited by how many pieces I can produce. I am hoping to look into expanding my new printed ranges so that my business can continue to grow. Keeping my products British with a personal touch is very important to me, so I will never stop producing hand painted pieces, I wouldn’t know how.

 

Thank you for chatting with us, Laura, it was lovely to sit down and have a cuppa with you! Do check out Laura’s amazing designs on her website.

Travel Diaries: Caravaning in the UK

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We haven’t shared these photos for a while because although they remind us of happy times, they remind us of sad times too. Our family holiday this year was tinged with sadness as we had to cut it short and return home to see a relative before their imminent death. We had been looking forward to our 2 weeks in the caravan traveling around the UK for a long time (and the few days we were doing just that, we loved it!) but we are so pleased that we were in the UK and able to return home in time to be with a loved-one when they needed us.

However, we still remember our short stay in Warwick and the Peak District fondly. We’ll be sharing a more detailed post on Warwick later, but look at those top photos of the Peak District! It was such a glorious place and we hope it won’t be our last visit. And the last photo? Well we couldn’t be staying in the area without taking a trip to Mr Darcy’s crib now, could we? Unfortunately he wasn’t in, but we loved nosing around his home anyway.

Liberty Quilt Finished!

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Oh my goodness!  I have finally done it and I am so pleased with this darling quilt.  Although it might not look that intricate, I am chuffed to death with this little beauty. Why? It is my first ‘all Liberty’ quilt.

Ever since childhood I have been a massive fan of the department store. Boutiques are sassy and chain stores offer consistency, but I just cannot top the feeling I get when I walk into a really large department store.  John Lewis; I adore you. Selfridges is pure indulgence, and Liberty – well that is pure love.

So it should come as no great surprise to see that I have stitched my first quilt made completely out of Liberty fabrics, although you may wonder why I have waited so long.

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The short answer is that, as beautiful as they are, Liberty fabrics are not cheap, and I wanted every part of it to be Liberty – even the backing – so for me it was a real investment. I am so very pleased with it and I hope you like it to.  It will be perfect for snuggling under as the autumn kicks in.

Liberty quilt, mug of tea, and a fabulous film – what is not to love?

(BTW – if you were wondering what the quote is along the bottom, it is how Time Out magazine defined Liberty – “innovation, tradition, and English eccentricity” – perfect!)

Karen x

Graduation 2014

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So yesterday I received my degree certificate in the post and it brought back all the memories of my graduation day. I’m not sure I even know what to say – what a surreal experience! I was even lucky enough to have two graduations since my boyfriend graduated the day before me and I celebrated with his family before waking up the next day and doing it all again with mine. It was so weird to think that I was ending three years of my life and moving onto something new and unknown. Seeing my degree certificate reminded me that that part of my life is over, which made me sad and scared and excited all at once. This summer has been full of wonderful experiences (some of which I will hopefully get to share) but it’s been strange too. Everyday I’ve woken, feeling like I’m in limbo. Speaking to others, I’ve learnt that they feel/felt exactly the same way. Since I’m not a fan of change, this all feels a bit scary, but I’m trying to embrace the uncertainty and the freedom that comes with it.

Thank you for letting me share!

Georgia xxx

Chalk Board Flour Jars

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Now here’s a story:

Once upon a time I bought two lovely jars to store my flour, one slightly larger than the other and  I added a jaunty cardboard label on a string to tell me which one held plain flour and which held self raising flour.  I thought they looked very good.

Unfortunately (due to wear and tear) the labels soon fell off – but that was OK because I knew that the large jar held SR flour and smaller one plain flour.  Easy to remember then…

…however it became apparent that I actually use more plain flour in my cooking and baking than SR flour and so I realised that I had them the wrong way around.  I needed the larger jar to hold the plain flour.

The next time I was low on flour I emptied them and washed them out, this time switching the flour around.  Easy peasy I thought, I just have to remember that they are now in the opposite jars than I had them in originally.

The following month we had a few major catastrophe’s which resulted in my not reaching for the flour to do any cooking for over a month.  I sense you know where I am going with this one – when my daughter wanted to bake a cake, I could not remember which jar held which flour. I couldn’t remember whether I had switched the flours – or just THOUGHT I had done it. (Oh the joys of age!)

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I needed a more permanent solution and so I reached for some old chalkboard paint. Quick, simple and highly effective.  Three coats took no longer than a couple of hours to dry and voila! No more mix up.

I like them – hope you do too!

Karen x

London Zoo

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This feels like too long ago! For my boyfriend’s birthday, we spent the day at London Zoo, finishing off at Comptoi Libanais, a lebanese restaurant. The animals at the zoo were as cute as they look in these photos and I think that we were both pleasantly surprised by how much we enjoyed our time there. Of course, we didn’t go expecting not to have fun (that would be dumb) but it was probably one of the best attractions we’ve been to together! I was surprised how interactive a lot of it was – lots of walking through dens while monkeys swung over our heads – and the penguins were gorgeous! Just look at that cheeky face in the second photo.

We stayed at the zoo a lot longer than I expected and just before we left, I convinced my boyfriend to go in the butterfly dome “just quickly.” I’m so pleased that I did because it turned out to be my favourite part. The butterflies were beautiful and at points, they were landing all over me (shame I didn’t manage to get a photo of that). When we finally left the dome, we were hungry and headed to Kensington for a very late lunch at Comptoi Libanais. For a while now, we’ve been trying to eat our way around the world, testing as many cuisines as we can and we’d yet to try Lebanese so Comptoi Libanais was a no-brainer. Being a humous-lover, I loved it and my boyfriend enjoyed it too (which is the priority). Altogether an awesome celebration!

Lavender Sugar

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Everyone knows that I am a lavender freak, right?  I just love lavender in its every form, and if you do too, then here is an easy way to bring that lavender luxury to your cooking, without having to  buy any expensive ingredients.  It is so easy too, and makes a fabulous present for any time of the year.

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Ingredients:

  • one jar with a lid that seals (Kilner jars are great but you can use other types)
  • culinary lavender
  • granulated white sugar

A quick note before we begin.  It is important to use culinary lavender in this recipe as we are going to leave the lavender heads in. Culinary lavender is widely available and very cheap from garden centres.  You can grow these plants in any herb garden or window boxes – or you could buy the heads online.

Here we go…..

The lavender oil (and therefore the fragrance and taste) is held in a minute sack, just behind the flower head. Therefore you don’t want the whole stem in there. You also don’t want the lavender flowers so pick your lavender just before it bursts into flower.  That way you will have the firm little buds, just aching to release their goodness.

If you have picked your lavender, leave on the stem for around 24 – 48 hours (to dry a little) and then stroke the lavender so that the heads fall off onto paper. They should fall off easily (and your fingers will smell delicious).

Discard the stems (unless you want to bundle them up to dry and later put on your BBQ – they are a wonderful infusion for lamb).

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Make sure your jar is clean and dry and then layer the sugar with the lavender heads. You can put in as much as you want or as little – just think about how definite a flavour you want. Don’t fill the jar completely to the top, as you want to be able to shake it from time to time. Seal the jar and leave for a month.

Tiny amounts of oil will come out of the heads and into the sugar, that will absorb it.  After a month the sugar is ready to use, in its normal amount, in cakes or shortbread – in fact anywhere where you want that delicate lavender touch to your cooking.

Enjoy!

Karen x

 

Changes on the Horizon

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Just recently there has been lots of changes in our little household and for a while, neither myself or Karen knew what we were going to do about Honey Rose Crafts. We’ve loved filling this corner of the internet with our handmade products and diary photos, but we’ve been struggling just recently to stick to our ‘two posts a week’ promise. We’ve often felt the pressure and ‘pushed’ out posts that we weren’t 100% happy with just because we were short on time, and then often, we’ve missed weeks altogether.

We didn’t want to get rid of Honey Rose Crafts – we established that straight away. Both of us enjoy sharing our makes and we feel that HRC encourages us to be bolder in our crafty endeavours. We’ve tried out new things and tackled projects that would otherwise have been forgotten in the cycle of daily life, so we knew that we didn’t want to lose that encouragement.

Instead, we’ve decided that Honey Rose Crafts will be a lifestyle and crafty diary for us. When things get a bit hectic then we might not post for a while, but when the crafting is in full swing, we might end up posting quite a lot! We both think this ‘free and easy’ attitude is healthier for the site and healthier for us too. We’re hoping that it will actually create better content that’s more enjoyable for you to read (and we hope that you agree).

So this was just a short little post to let you know what’s been going on back here. You might have noticed the changes in the design of the site too – I’ve been fiddling around with a few images and testing some designs. We hope that you like it!

And you’ll be hearing again from us very soon.

Travel Diaries: Rome

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Hey guys, it’s Georgia here. So last week I was lucky enough to get the chance to go to Rome. My boyfriend found a cheap, last-minuite deal two weeks ago and we went ahead and booked it along with two friends from uni. When my boyfriend rang me up, I couldn’t believe it, and I’ll admit that I was pretty freaked out. I don’t react well to change or spontaneity (I say “I don’t react well” – I just mean that it makes me anxious). Then a family tragedy struck and I was even more unsure about the whole trip, but I went for it in the end, and I’m so pleased that I did.

We were there for four days and we walked our legs off around that city! Boy, was Rome hot, but it was also incredibly beautiful. I suspected that it would be pretty, but I didn’t think it would be so drop dead gorgeous as it was. About a year and a half ago, we planned a previous trip to Rome but the whole thing fell through. I had hoped that we’d go this summer, but since we both had busy schedules and little cash, we’d resigned ourselves to waiting until next summer at the nearest, then this deal came out of nowhere! And we had to take it.

This was my first experience of Italy and it’s given me an incessant craving for the rest of that country! I’m desperate to see more of Italy. Everyone was so friendly and I felt completely at ease. I’ve spent a lot of time in France in the past and although I do love it, I think I might like Italy more…

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Definitely want to go back!