Blog

Blog, Makes

Quince Jelly fit for a Queen

I was recently given some enormous, if somewhat bruised, windfall quinces. So as a great lover of cheese I decided to make some quince jelly,  sometimes  known as quince cheese. Suffice to say as soon as I wanted to make the jelly I couldn’t find a recipe. Then I found buried amongst all my other cookery books a slim volume called   WI Book of Jams and other preserves written by Pat Hesketh and published in 1984.  It has over 100 recipes tried and tested by the women’s institute.

So I turn to the page for Quince Cheese, on the same and facing page were recipes for cumberland rum butter, apple butter, marrow orange cream and bramble cheese. Fruit butters are a softer consistency than cheeses and are usually spiced and should be hermetically sealed. They are usually served as a spread. Cheeses are cooked to a stiff consistency and set in small moulds so that they   can be turned out for serving and cut into wedges.

Quince Cheese 

500g quinces chopped into roughly 1cm pieces

500g sugar

water

Instructions 

  1. Wash the quinces and cut up into pieces
  2. Place in a pan and barely cover with water.
  3. Cover and cook until reduced to a pulp.
  4. Pour through a sieve and weigh the liquid. (discard what is left in the sieve).To each 500g of liquid add 500g of sugar.
  5. Cook over a low heat to dissolve the sugar.
  6. Continue cooking until a thick consistency is obtained.
  7. When a spoon is drawn across the base of the pan, it should leave a clean line.
  8. Pour into prepared moulds. I used small glass pots used for ‘Gu’.
  9. Make some fabric tops by cutting out circles with pinking shears.
Makes, Uncategorized

Oxfam urges shoppers not to buy new clothes for a month. So this September I show you how to up cycle, preloved garments, starting with a Smoking Cap.

Second Hand September aims to raise awareness of fashion’s environmental impact

Create a twenty first century version of a nineteenth century, Smoking Cap from an up-cycled 1980’s jacket. I made this for my brother who loved wearing smoking caps. Here it is modelled by the beautiful Elsa.

2C2A7330

The embroidery on the Jacket was beautiful but the style was somehow lacking. So I chose to turn it into, what used to be called, a Smoking Cap. This is in essence a pill box shaped hat often with a central tassel.

jacket

You will need

Old lined jacket

Tape measure

Pen and paper

Sewing machine

Pins

Thread

Scissors

Thin wadding

Calico

Optional a tassel

Instructions .We made a pattern with the crown, top of the hat having a 18cm diameter. The brim of the hat is 8cm deep x 59.5 cm long including the seam allowances. Cut a paper pattern and then cut a calico pattern and sew the calico brim onto the calico top. Try it on for size and adjust as needed. It should be a little bigger than the finished hat, as the finished hat as a layer of wadding in it.

hat pattern

Cut the jacket into pieces and then lay the pattern pieces on them so they use up the best parts of the pattern. Pin and cut out the pattern pieces. Remember to add more seam allowance if you need to make a join.

pin band onto fabric.jpg

Cut the interfacing so that it is slightly smaller than the pattern pieces. Pin it onto the wrong side of the hat’s crown and brimSew the wadding onto the brim. Pin the crown onto the brim, and sew them together, including the wadding around the crownpin top side.jpg

Using the jacket lining, make a lining for the hat as you did the one from calico. With wrong sides together, and the bottom edges turned under to neaten, sew the lining  into the

.sew wadding into the top piece.jpg

outside cap. Sew a tassel into the centre of the cap.

2C2A7323

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Blog, Exhibitions, Press Show Picks

Key Interior Trends for 2020

This week Olympia hosted ‘Top Drawer’ the show where the buyers go to source new, unearth the latest trends and discover emerging talent, and buy for the coming season.

         According to Flamingo Trend Predictions , there are four key trends this season the first being Playful Chromatics. Described thus, as a fun filled palette of block colours that bring modernity through mid tone brights. Varied hues are achieved through mixed material densities. 

A key colour is neo mint and it adds a fresh and positive start for 2020. Kat Burroughs, Interiors Journalist of the Times, mentions in her predictions for 2020 the Pantone colour of ‘Classic Blue’, which is more or less Royal Blue, and also lilac being used in some home wares.

From Illustrated stories, artwork that tells tales through eclectic narratives by Kay Van Bellen

Blue also features in another of her 2020 predictions, chintzy china. There was a great deal, of that old favourite, blue and white china, much of it with a modern twist.

Burleigh.co.uk

The second predicted trend is ‘Rare Bloom’ powerful, pigmented florals grounded with soft brown leathers. Florals add deep intensity of reds, oranges and purples clashing with acid lime, and tempered with soft peachy coral.

Fleurs de La Soir, Hummingbird and butterflies
from Katie Victoria Brown

The show certainly had many surface designers who have taken their inspirations from nature with fine examples of flowers and insects.

Portico Designs – Archive Rainforest Print Stationery. Photo: porticodesigns.com

         ‘Mad About The House’ journalist Kate Watson Smythe, in her predictions for 2020 describes how we are turning away from the minimalism of recent years and embracing pattern, particularly with a new take on English country style with layers of colour and pattern.

https://www.ampellegrini.com/

         Unadorned Tactility is the third trend and that is formed from new interpretations of traditional materials. Organic prints and textured layered on to geo shapes give a bio-futuristic look.

https://www.ryeandmoor.co.uk/

         The fourth trend is Serene Warmth. Described as dappled sun warmth and cool shade, colours are juxtaposed in the raw fabrics, rich prints and smooth pale marble and concrete.

https://www.raineandhumble.com/olive-grove-range

This warmth aspect of this trend fits in with Kate Watson Smythe’s prediction that ‘the fashion for brown furniture, which I wrote about last year, has now become part of the sustainability movement and will, rightly, continue to grow in popularity. We will buy more from eBay and vintage stores, we will paint and customise and up cycle more and we will continue to reupholster and repurpose.’

Blog, Press Show Picks

Purchase PIVOT jewellery for Christmas

PIVOT is a social enterprise set up by Alice Moxley to give young people work, pay them a living wage and to help them out of poverty. As she says we create British handmade goods with clout. We are a social enterprise which aims to alleviate long-term tenures in temporary accommodation by bringing enterprise and opportunity into hostels. We provide part-time, flexible and meaningful employment for those experiencing homelessness whilst co-designing tailored strategies to help individuals get back into work and into permanent accommodation. Every piece of jewellery bought takes our makers one step closer to their goal of leaving the hostel.

         The number of people experiencing homelessness in the UK has reached unprecedented levels. Homelessness does not just mean those sleeping rough, it also includes those living in temporary accommodation. Where a person declares themselves as homeless to their local authority, they have the right to housing. However with local authorities forever squeezed, in many circumstances are unable to provide permanent housing. As a consequence, many are placed in temporary accommodation, awaiting access to social housing or the private rental sector. Often people find themselves stuck facing long waiting lists for social housing and discrimination to access the private rental sector.

57,890 Households were accepted as homeless last year

65% of people living in temporary accommodation in London stay for over 6 months

30% of people living in temporary accommodation in London stay for over 4 years

We are at the very early stages of this exciting journey and are learning a lot. If you would like to know more, or would like to offer help in any way, we would love to hear from you!’ Alice Moxley

Crisis Pop-Up!

We are very excited to announce a collaboration with Crisis. We have been invited to set up shop at their Elephant and Castle shop. 223-225 Walworth Road, London, SE17 1RL

Come and meet some of our makers and buy some Christmas presents!

In the past 2 weeks Pivot have sold over 100 pieces of jewellery, creating more than 50 hours worth of work for four unemployed Londoners living in temporary accommodation.

“This weekend is the final opportunity to buy the last of Pivot’s first line at Crisis Elephant and Castle. We’ve only got a limited amount left to sell ,so get it while you can! All made by homeless Londoners earning London living wage. I’ll be at the shop 10-7 Saturday and 11-6 Sunday. “

Annabel Medland modelling some of the jewellery 

Photography George Harkins)

Contact if you want to reserve!

http://www.makepivot.org

Blog, Meet the Maker

Meet the creative gallery and shop owner Jane Will

With Christmas coming soon, now is the opportunity to shop local and support independent shops such as Will and Yates in Deal Kent.

Will & Yates Gallery + Homestore

104-106 High Street Deal Kent CT14 6EE

Tel 01404 374700 /07958 931 411 /info@willandyates.com

When we first met many moons ago you were working in the Shaker Shop in London. How did this come about?

Shaker was my favorite shop in London. I became obsessed with the whole look and loved everything about it. Had I lived back in the 1750’s I am sure I would have become a Shaker sister. I filled my house with all things Shaker, peg rails, boxes in all sizes. It got to the point where I visited the Shaker villages in the USA. Then I started to work for the Shaker Shop in London.

Deal is very different from London. What made you move down to a small coastal town and away from London?

I lived in London since I was 18 and I had my family there. We always said once the kids left home we would move down to the coast. We visited many seaside towns but as soon as we visited Deal we knew it was the place that we wanted to live. It ticks all the boxes, it’s architecture, independent shops, Saturday market, great restaurants and a fast train to London.

What are its advantages and disadvantages?

I honestly can’t think of any disadvantages. Family and friends visit all the time- we always have a house full. The pace is obviously slower, but that is what I want. After a full time job and parent hood, the simpler things become more important- sitting on the beach, riding my bicycle, lunch with friends.

Have you always wanted to run your own shop and gallery?

Yes, I used to make my sister play shop with me. I loved using my till and giving out change.

How long have you had your shop/gallery  in Deal?

We opened in October 2017

What have been the major challenges?

Keeping the stock fresh so that customers keep returning.

Is there much competition within the town?

There are a few independent shops, which is lovely, as we are all different.

Do you sell much on line?

Not yet but I intend to build up that side of the business.

Is it difficult to source original product?

Yes we are always on the look out for local artisans.

Jane I have known you for a long time I have written about your previous houses and I know you have a great eye. Have you had any kind of design training?  

No, but I do live with creatives. My husband ran an Ad agency before we moved down here and my sons both work in creative industries.

Had you ever had any experience in running your own business before?

No I’ve always been employed.

How did you find your premises and why did you choose the sea front?

Caroline, my business partner, and I had been looking on the high street and then we walked past this on the sea front and saw it was up for rent. So we went and bought fish and chips and sat on the beach and discussed it for a very short time. So after the fish and chips we went back to the shop and said yes.

Tell me about how you met your business partner and about the different roles you hold within the business? We met on the beach and got talking and immediately made a connection.We bring different things to the business.Caroline is an artist and she studied painting at the RCA. She is more creative than me. I am the more practical one.

What would you say is your USP?

We sell a mixture of original art, much of it Caroline’s but other artists too, plus vintage and new home wares. I attend antique fairs, trade fairs and open studios. Sometimes I find people on instagram.

Do you run any events from the shop?

Yes every three months we hold an event such as a Christmas sales evening or an exhibition launch. We advertise this on social media and we do door drops and we have a mailing list.

Can you describe a typical day?

I shall describe a typical Saturday. I will go to the market and buy flowers for the shop. Deal has an excellent Saturday market. I will buy a sticky bun from the Swedish lady who has a stand there and coffee from Deal Roasters. I take everything to the shop and open up at 10am. Normally we are busy with lots of locals coming to see what we have that is new. I try to remember to ask how people have found us. Often recommendation and some find us on instagram. I close the shop at 5pm. Walk home and have a glass of wine.

On Sundays the customer base changes, there are more dog walkers who walk past and then come in to see what we are selling. Up to now we have been closed in the week but as the summer progresses and we become better known we will open from Thursday to Sunday.

One of the reasons I am interviewing successful women who are over fifty is that they have often had to take a career break, or had to slow down to deal with child care, illness and or aged parents. Have you ever had to deal with any of these of issues and did it impact on your creative life or business?

It was because of the children that I took a job as a school secretary. I needed to work, although it wasn’t particularly creative it meant that I didn’t have childcare issues and I could see my children after school and during their holidays.

Who or what inspires you?

Caroline my business partner inspires me. She has changed my life. Even though what I now have has been a long held dream, I am not sure that I would have done it by myself. I get on with the day-to-day stuff whilst she is painting. We make a good team.

From what part of your business do you get the most satisfaction?

I get a great kick when someone buys something I’ve chosen and when people say lovely things about the shop.

What advice would you give to anyone starting out today?

Do as much as you can yourself to save money. My husband, who is luckily very practical, fitted out the shop.

You do need financial security for rent, stock and to get set up. It will probably be a while before you can start making any income from it.  I overlapped with my other job for eight months in order to get established. I’ve given up the other job now to concentrate on this.

What is next for the shop?

Caroline would like to expand into bigger premises. I am not sure yet and would like to get this a little more established before we do.

Since interviewing Jane, she and Caroline, have bitten the bullet and, moved into much larger premises on High Street Deal. The move has been a great success.

Will & Yates Gallery + Homestore

104-106 High Street Deal Kent CT14 6EE

Tel 01404 374700 /07958 931 411 /https://www.willandyates.com/

Blog, Makes

Make your own Christmas Stockings

We are getting very close to Christmas, so I think it might be the time for a bit of Christmas making. I originally designed these stockings for Laura Ashley’s Blog. You can still find them on their web site. I used their fabrics at the time, however this is a great project for using up any fabric scraps that you may have in your stash.

You will need

Laura Ashley Fabrics in 3 different patterns:

50cm for the body of the boot, 20cm piece for the cuff, and 30cm for the bias, hanging loop, and the heel and toe features

Thread

Bondaweb iron on interfacing

Dressmaking Scissors

Sewing Machine

Instructions

Step 1: Fold fabrics right sides together and cut out two stocking pieces  from the main fabric, and two cuff pieces in the first contrasting fabric. Using the same pattern pieces, cut out bondaweb interfacing. Iron the bondaweb interfacing onto the back of the two stocking pieces and one cuff using a medium heat setting.

Step 2: Trace the heel and toe shapes onto a piece of Bondaweb. Turn the shapes over and trace again. Iron the Bondaweb onto the second contrasting fabric and cut out the shapes.

Step 3: Peel off the paper backing from the heel and toe pieces, position onto the stocking pieces then iron to fix in place.

Step 4: Using a zig-zag stitch, sew along the inner curves of the heel and toe pieces.

Step 5: With right sides facing, pin the two stocking pieces together. Leaving the top of the stocking open sew around using a 1cm seam allowance. Trim the seams and clip the curves.

Step 6: Cut a bias strip of the second contrasting fabric, measuring 46cm x 4cm. Cut a 44cm piece of piping cord.

Step 7: Fold the fabric around the piping and sew using a zip foot attachment.

Step 8: With the right sides together, sandwich the piping between the long edges of the stocking cuff. Sew as close as possible to the piping, using the zip foot.

Step 9: Open the cuff pieces out and with right sides facing, fold the short edges together and sew with a 1cm seam allowance. Fold the cuff the right way out.

Step 10: To make the loop cut a piece of the second contrasting fabric 20cm x 4cm. Fold in half length ways and sew the long edges together and across one short edge. Trim the seam and turn through.

Step 11:  Pin the cuff to the wrong side of the stocking, matching the seams at the back. Fold the loop in half and sandwich between the cuff and stocking at the back seam. Sew around the top of the stocking to attach the cuff to the boot. TIP – sew from the inside of the stocking.

Step 12: Turn the stocking through and fold the cuff to the outside. Merry Christmas!

Happy and successful making and MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone.

Blog, Makes

Make your own Christmas Crackers

I originally designed and made these crackers for Coast magazine.

Crackers date back to the 1840’s. They were supposed to have been invented by a sweet manufacturer, Tom Smith, who came up with the idea as a way of promoting his bon-bon sweets, that were having a bit of a slump at the time.

My crackers have been designed with a coastal Christmas theme in mind, but you could create crackers for different events, such as a wedding, christening or birthday. For these designs I took photos of fabrics and sweet wrappers and enlarged them to create the scale I wanted. You could do this too, of even draw your own design on paper. There are lots of copyright free images to be found on the internet. You will need the design to fit onto an A4 piece of paper. I bought the cracker snaps on line, but everything else should be very easy to find. You can make paper hats from tissue paper and of course write your own jokes. The jokes can be created for different members of your family or particular friends. I put some tiny old fashioned Christmas decorations in my crackers. You could do the same or add balloons and sweets.

You will need

Piece of A4 Card for each cracker, Piece of A4 paper printed with a design, Cutting mat, Scalpel, Paper scissors, Clear tape, Double sided tape, Ruler, Pencil, Cracker snaps, Sweets, paper hats and tiny toys and decorations

Step 1

Cut a strip off the card so that it measures 16cm x 29.7cm.

Lay the card horizontally, starting from the right hand side measure in from the edge 6cm both top and bottom of the card. Draw a line between the pencil dots. Repeat at 8cm and 10 cm in from the edge. Repeat on the left hand side of the card. Score and fold as shown in image.

Step 2

Where the narrow folded edges are, mark out evenly spaced triangles. Make sure that there is a bridge between each triangle. Using the paper scissor cut out the triangles. Open out the card and you will have two rows of diamonds.

Step 3

Roll the card horizontally to form a long narrow cracker shaped tube. Using sticky tape, attach one side onto the other. Cut the A4 paper into three strips 2 x 6cms wide and 1 x 9.5cm wide. Using double sided tape stick the paper onto the three sections of the card tube.

Step 4

Push the cracker snap into the cracker, and secure it with a bit of tape to stop it falling out. Tie string or twine round one end of the cracker and then fill the cracker with sweets decorations toys etc or even your own jokes. Tie up the other end of the cracker.

Blog, book review, Book Reviews

GLOBAL BOHEMIAN How to Satisfy your Wanderlust at Home

Bohemianism has long been associated with artists, musicians, writers, and designers. Affectionately referred to as boho, this layered, vibrant, and organic aesthetic is clearly thriving. This may be because we are much more environmentally aware than we were even two decades ago. Buying second hand is very much in vogue and if you can’t do the travelling yourself many of the items found in a Bohemian home can be acquired from in charity shops, brocantes and the like. If you revel in freedom from conventions and rules, love a home that reflects individuality, spontaneity, a fondness for a fusion of global goods and a distinctive convergence of cultures, bohemian style is the book for you.

From minimal boho touches to relaxed, natural, eclectic, and romantic design elements make the global bohemian home a thing of beauty. With their blend of styles, the homes featured in this book boast a uniquely enchanting atmosphere, often reflected in the variety of treasures they showcase––from personal collections to inspired use of color and pattern, these wildly differing living spaces show signs of humanity and the patina of life.

Whether you want to transform an understated room by adding whimsical elements or create an exotic oasis in your bedroom, unconventional boho artistry is easy to achieve by incorporating a few basics such as jewel-toned items, metallic touches, alluring prints, and layers of textures, to name but a few. Mismatched pieces from various origins and eras, delicious colours, exquisite textiles, and imaginative displays give spaces an undeniable energy. This book celebrates the decorating tenets of freethinking, world traveling, and nomadic ideals, and the beauty of self-expression. The book is divided into different chapters including Colour. The author points out  

‘whether your taste leans to cheerful hues or softer ones. While there is no prescribed color palette for this iconic style, it is often hallmarked by warm hues like deep blue, hot pink, and sunny yellow, which, when combined, bring visual intensity. And for those who like it hot, jewel tones and metallic accents rule.’

Next comes Furnishings, an inspiring mix of old and new, and serious and fanciful, all topped with a big dose of personality. Eclectic is an accurate adjective to define a décor that comprises the heterogeneous elements particular to the global bohemian. There is a fine line, however, between a beautifully diverse design and one that is merely chaotic.

Furniture collected over time and secondhand and vintage items are right at home here. For an exotic mood, you can feed your wanderlust for exquisite objects from around the world ––from Africa to India, Uzbekistan to Latin America and more with just a click. It has never been easier or more exciting to pack personality and global style into every space in your home. Conformity and uniformity aren’t in the boho vocabulary, but individuality is!

_The chapter on Accessories draws inspiration from many sources. The aesthetic is rooted not only in cultural artifacts but also in pieces that reflect one’s personal journey. Weaving together items from a variety of locations for a worldly look is as vital as focusing on gathering unique pieces. It’s all about mystery, charm, and the appeal of the unexpected.

Display colourful candle lanterns and include items with metallic gold or silver finishes for a crowning touch to the eclectic décor. Don’t forget nature! Vines, succulents, and other houseplants are indispensable for conjuring up the free-spirited, wanderlust feeling of bohemian design.

Fabrics, Patterns and Textures come next. Textiles from various parts of the world, like Africa, Asia, and South America reflect a well-traveled vibe and produce distinctive, culturally influenced aesthetics. Much like a good piece of artwork, fabrics can make a room. This book is filled with Inspiring homes from all over the world that show the reader how to create their own Boho vibe. A book as beautiful as this, should grace your coffee table and, will make a wonderful Christmas present for a dear friend.

Global Bohemian by Fifi O’Neill, published by CICO Books (£19.99)

Photography by Mark Lohman © CICO Books

Blog, book review, Book Reviews

Embroidery Now

Contemporary projects for you and your home

As we are in the dark dank days of November, at least here in the UK, I felt it was time to review a craft book that is a contemporary take on a a very old technique. A craft that you can easily practise with very little in the way of materials and equipment. Embroidery Now is a stylish hand-embroidery guide for the modern maker. The author, Jennifer Riggs, known on Instagram as @Threadhoney, walks you through the embroidery process.

Jennifer is a graphic designer and textile designer. She was taught to embroider by her grandmother when she was eight years old. It was after college that she took up embroidery again and started developing her own products and patterns. She has also collaborated with companies such as Coast, Focus Features and Comcast.

         From this book you’ll learn about the materials included in the practice, nine different stitch techniques with illustrated step-by-step instructions, and 30 individual projects designed for you to use in your home and wardrobe.

         Embroidery has a long and rich history that can be dated back to 30,000 BC, but there is now an entire movement of young people who have picked up their needles. Carrying on the tradition of their ancesters this time they’re doing it in a way that reflects modern times and their individuality.

         This book shows how to meld the old tradition of embroidery with new design concepts. Jennifer creates projects that have humour, don’t take themselves too seriously and reflect personal interests.

         Embroidery is a great way to repurpose, reuse and up-cycle old stuff and personalise treasures. It is also the perfect craft to carry around with you, as it takes up very little space.

         This book is a delight and perfect for both new and experiences embroiders alike. Included are a boho stitched lamp shade, embroidered accent pillow, constellation tablecloth, minimalist canvas wall art, starry stitched dresses, and much more. Buy it now and embroider some gifts to give away this Christmas.

Embroidery Now by Jennifer Cardenas Riggs (Hardie Grant £14.99) Photography ©Nassima Rothacker