Archive of ‘Create’ category

Colours to inspire: blue

For this month’s colours to inspire post I’ve opted for a blue theme, sharing a few images/makes I’ve spied on Instagram recently. To catch up on other colours to inspire posts I’ve popped the links below for you.


colourstoinspire-june-withtext


Why blue? Well, it’s kind of an ode to my friend, who is expecting a baby boy this month – this week in fact – eek. I wrote a little about colour schemes for babies here and shared the baby blanket I made for him here. Blue isn’t actually a colour I often work with, but I think it’s a great all-year round kind of colour and finding these colour combos was a breeze.

Even though these are all pictures from homemade makes I hope these can inspire you in other ways too (should you not be a crafter). Perhaps you’re looking to decorate your house this year, or thinking about buying some new furniture, or looking for a new wardrobe, I’d hope there’s something for everyone here.


Found on Instagram - colours that inspire - blues. This Little Space of Mine


Photo from Liz at littlecolleydesign. This is just beautiful. No other words. I love it because 1) it matches the theme of this post and 2) because I really want to make a quilt, yet for some reason I haven’t done it yet! There’s an array of colours here, some are fairly dark, but the bright turquoise ties it all together in the best kind of way. Plus that backing pattern and deep blue/white combo looks so good. Liz has made a vast array of quilts so definitely worth checking out her Etsy shop.


Found on Instagram - colours that inspire - blues. This Little Space of Mine


Photo from Julie at littlewoollie. For something very different to Liz’s make, how about this clash-tastic bright crochet blanket? The red/blue/green/pink combination should clash, but there’s something about this that works. While I love the turquoise hearts, I was really drawn to the lime green heart and dark green backing too. On the blue side of things, there are two shades here – turquoise and a navy blue and I like how they’re paired with other shades throughout the pattern.


Found on Instagram - colours that inspire - blues. This Little Space of Mine


Photo from Ana at ana.moraissoares. The neatness of these granny squares, oh my! I mentioned in last month’s post how I like when colours are balanced out with a neutral colour and I like the use of two neutral colours here – a cream and an almost sage/olive colour. There are also two bright shades of blue that are repeated throughout. Ana has made some beautiful crochet projects so worth checking out her Instagram feed.


Found on Instagram - colours that inspire - blues. This Little Space of Mine


Photo from Sandra at sandracherryhrt. Last but by means least, I’m a big fan of Sandra’s work and I like that this idea is different from the others; blues are there but it’s not the strongest shade. I like how there are a couple of shades of blue and how they’ve been combined with pinks and oranges – so there’s quite a long of warmth. Plus there’s a thick band of cream granny’s to help neutralise this project.

Which is your favourite? Any that specifically stand out? I think my favourite this month is Liz at littlecolleydesign‘s quilt. Gorgeous shades all round.

If you’re on Instagram be sure to pop over to my page and say hello! As always, I’m on the lookout for more combinations, so shout if you see anything on your travels.

Thanks for reading!

Leanne x

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Photo credit: littlecolleydesign, littlewoollie, ana.moraissoares and sandracherryhrt.

A chat with Hannah Bass

Hello! Today I get to share one of my favourite posts – talking to small creative businesses about what inspires them and how they keep creative. I’m talking today to Hannah Bass, owner of a contemporary tapestry business that designs and sells colourful, urban, contemporary designs of city maps from around the world.

I came across Hannah’s designs when I visited her stand at the Knitting and Stitching show in March this year and fell in love with her San Fransisco kit. It was one of those things where I saw it, loved it, walked away and kept thinking about it all day before my Mum and sister encouraged me to go back and treat myself. I’ve just got going with it, my very first tapestry kit, and I’m looking forward to getting stuck into it this summer.

I’m thrilled to have Hannah here on my blog today; so sit back, put your feet up and let’s have a chat…


A chat with Hannah Bass about tapestry, design and running her own business. Interviewed on This Little Space of Mine


Hey Hannah, it’s so great to have you here. Let’s kick things off with a little introduction to who you are…

I’m a creative soul. I’ve always loved making things, from playhouses for my Sylvanian families, to bespoke furniture for my clients. Bright colours, the outdoors, sport & travel make me happy. I became an Interior Designer after university. Ten years later I wanted to focus more on the ‘handmade movement’, to bring back the skills of our grandparents. In such a fast paced, high tech world, like meditation & yoga, needlepoint is incredibly therapeutic. It forces you to slow down and relax.

For readers who haven’t heard of your products, could you tell us a little bit about them?

I design graphic, colourful, contemporary needlepoint kits of city maps.

I have a busy mind, so needlepoint has always appealed to me – it calms me. I stumbled across my products by chance. I couldn’t find a modern needlepoint I wanted to stitch which fitted with my interior décor, so I designed a map of my home town, London. Friends liked it, so it grew from there. I’m quite an impulsive person, so I quit my job pretty quickly & started designing a few more round the kitchen table.


A chat with Hannah Bass about tapestry, design and running her own business. Interviewed on This Little Space of Mine


In such a fast paced, high tech world, like meditation & yoga, needlepoint is incredibly therapeutic.

I bought your San Francisco kit in March and I’m curious to know how you choose a city and how it goes from an idea to a kit that’s ready to sell.

Initially, I chose the cities that had an obvious theme: San Francisco – the rainbow, Barcelona – the Gaudi colours etc. These days it’s down to the most requested cities. Everybody has a different emotional attachment to a different place. My next 2 designs will be Berlin and Edinburgh.

So what does a typical day look like to you?

I usually answer my emails in bed, then make up the overnight online orders for posting. The admin, marketing & general ‘to-do’ list are sorted in the morning so I can empty my brain & focus on designing, the bit I love. I work from home so I like to get out the house at lunchtime to separate the morning and afternoon. I head to the gym for a swim, steam & sauna. There’s a great café there that’s lovely to work from too. I design in the afternoon and the evenings are spent stitching the next prototype.


A chat with Hannah Bass about tapestry, design and running her own business. Interviewed on This Little Space of Mine


Only do it if you love it. I love what I do and it’s perfect for me. But I’ve made a number of sacrifices in the process.

What’s the one piece of advice you’d offer to anyone thinking of starting their own business?

Only do it if you love it. I love what I do and it’s perfect for me. But I’ve made a number of sacrifices in the process. It’s hardwork, so your heart has to be in it.

What’s the key to a happy life for you?

Balance, I think. I’m a Gemini, so I’m an odd contrast of things. I’m overly social at times, yet very shy at others. I need people, but also peace and quiet. I love London, but I need to escape to the countryside every so often. Love, good friends, good hobbies & walking the dogs.

And finally, who would you invite to your famous person dinner party (dead or alive) and why?

Winston Churchill. He’s the ultimate ‘one liner’. Charming, intelligent, brave and funny. A bit of a dying breed.


A chat with Hannah Bass about tapestry, design and running her own business. Interviewed on This Little Space of Mine


A big thank you to Hannah for her time, it’s been a pleasure to get to know her a little better! You can catch Hannah over on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or, of course, her website.

Hannah has also very kindly offered a 10% discount to readers of This Little Space of Mine with the code thislittlespaceofmine (valid until the end of July 2016). Pop on over to her website and treat yourself to a new craft project.

If you fancy catching a previous ‘A chat with…’ here are a few links for you –

Finally, I thought I’d put out a call to see if there are any small business owners you’d like to see featured in this series? Or perhaps you’re a small business owner and would like to be interviewed? A chat with is taking a break now until September, but I’m on the lookout for suggestions so drop me an email.

Thanks for reading… I hope today’s post has inspired you to take up tapestry!

Leanne x

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Making a cosy stripe blanket

One of the best things – if not the very best thing – about crafting is being able to make something for a loved one. I made Attic 24’s cosy stripe blanket for a friend of mine, who is expecting her first baby this month. I made it back in March so I’m pretty happy to finally be able to share it with you today!


Making a cosy stripe baby blanket - pattern from Attic 24 and made using Stylecraft Special DK. Post from This Little Space of Mine


If you’re a regular reader you may remember seeing this very colour scheme pop up in my baby colour scheme ideas post last month. It was the closest I could come to sharing what I’d made before the baby shower and I referenced the colours chosen as being a middle ground between neutral and gender specific. I knew my friend was expecting a little boy, but didn’t want too much blue, or anything too bold, and felt like she’d want something more ‘natural’ and warm, so after playing around with my yarn pegs I decided on Stylecraft Special DK’s Cream, Stone, Parchment, Duck Egg and Soft Peach. There’s an argument to say Soft Peach isn’t really boy-proof, but with the balance of the other shades I think it’s fine.

Before I go into anymore details, here’s a bit of essential information you need if you’d like to make a cosy stripe blanket.

You’ll need:

A couple of other bits of information for you:

  • The finished size of the blanket was: 78 x 91cm
  • I adapted the pattern with a pram/buggy in mind, so worked to 124 trebles and 40/41 granny’s
  • Lucy works with a 4mm hook, but as my tension can be a little tight I opted for a bigger hook – one that I’m more comfortable using

I’ve mentioned the shades I worked with, the ordering was Cream, Stone, Duck Egg, Cream, Parchment, Soft Peach. The Stone and Parchment shades felt close, so I opted to keep them apart. I think it was my Mum who said there was a classic Neapolitan ice cream feel about the colours together and I quite agree!


Making a cosy stripe baby blanket - pattern from Attic 24 and made using Stylecraft Special DK. Post from This Little Space of Mine


The cosy stripe blanket had been one I’d had my eye on for a long time and after A LOT of back and forth about what I should make for the baby, I decided to go for the cosy stripe – mainly because I liked the stitch combinations and felt like I would be able to make it. I don’t consider myself as a pro-crocheter just yet, so I wanted something I wouldn’t struggle too much with.

It was certainly a step away from the ripple blanket I’ve been working on and did present me some challenges; those challenges taught me more about crochet so weren’t negative ones in the slightest. The one area I struggled with – and ended up unpicking half of it because – was not adding/forgetting stitches, specifically on the rows of trebles. This caused the blanket to angle itself and grow very oddly, so I unpicked it and made a note of exactly how many stitches should be in each row. Yes, checking them after every row might seem tedious, but for me it meant no more mistakes and that I’d be able to keep its shape.

Once it was finished there was still a little wonkiness, but a quick wash sorted that out; that’s another good thing about Stylecraft Special DK – wash proof. Perfect for a baby!


Making a cosy stripe baby blanket - pattern from Attic 24 and made using Stylecraft Special DK. Post from This Little Space of Mine


How cute is this border? I love the shape of each of the blue sections, kind of like a semi-circle.

All in all this project has a thumbs up from me; the pattern was fun to work on, I loved the colours I chose (even after a couple of moments of doubt), it turned out well and the best thing? My friend loved it when I gave it to her at the baby shower. To make something for her baby felt incredibly special, and I hope to make lots more for him in the future!

So have you every made the cosy stripe blanket? Big thanks to Lucy for Attic 24 for sharing her patterns, they’re always a joy to work on. Love to see pics if you have made one!

Leanne x

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Life as a crafter: my current works in progress – June 2016

Hello! I’m back today sharing how I’m getting on with my crafting projects – my works in progress and the things I’d like to make this year. I don’t normally post on a Saturday, but hope you’re around to have a read.

If you’re a regular reader you’ll know to keep it flowing from month to month I have a) created a spreadsheet (because I love a good spreadsheet!) and b) I’m going to copy and paste from post to post and adjust the wording if I’ve made progress. If you see any bits repeat, it’ll tell you I did nothing on it all month!


Life as a crafter - my current works in progress - This Little Space of Mine


April was mainly about making crochet flowers for Make May Purple, but I also managed to finish a granny square scrap blanket I started making last summer. You might also notice that I’ve added a couple of projects to the ‘on my radar’ list, which I’ve promised myself I won’t start on until I’ve finished the ripple blanket. Promise, promise, promise! Anyway, let’s check out the list…

Completed
  • Crochet flowers for Make May Purple. I finished Make May Purple having raised over £650 which included making 100+ flowers. Completely and utterly beyond any expectation I have – a big thank you to everyone who supported me and Stroke Association.
  • Attic 24 ripple blanket. Finished this just in the nick of time! Once I got close to finishing I had that burst of energy to just get it done, so finished it just after the bank holiday weekend. More pics and a write up to come soon.
Underway
  • The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery ‘Let’s go on an adventure’ stitch-along. This month the top row will be finished – wowee, half way there! This month’s pattern is for Russia and I’m looking forward to working on it.
  • San Francisco tapestry cushion. I got myself started on this a couple of days ago, getting the frame ready and starting on the wording. It’s going to be a long term project but one I plan to enjoy over the warmer, summer months (when they decide to arrive!) You can see the kit I bought here.
  • Sew La Di Da dress. I started this around May 2014 and haven’t finished it. To make matters worse there’s not much more to do. I can feel my Mum frowning at me as I type this. Must get this Sew La Di Da make finished for spring.
On my radar
  • Simply Crochet’s bright granny square blanket. I’ve decided on the colours so I’ll be ordering the yarn soon. The plan is for it to match our living room theme and sit on the back of our sofa.
  • Socks! My Mum bought me everything I need to start, for my birthday, so there’s no excuse not to learn how to make them for myself.
  • Patchwork quilt. My friend has asked me to make one using her baby daughter’s baby grows, so this year my Mum and I are going to tackle it as a joint project together.
  • Tilly and the Button’s Françoise dress. I completely forgot about this; my friend bought me this shift dress pattern for Christmas. I love the style of the dress, so perfect for me.
  • Weekender blanket with Stylecraft’s newest colours. I’ve wanted to make Cherry Heart’s blanket for a while and the newest colours from Stylecraft would be a great colour combination for it – plus when it was limited edition I bought two packs and have now idea what to do with them! Not sure I like how they’re joined in her pattern, so may look for something a bit different.
  • Scrap blanket for charity. I still have a lot of scrap yarns that I need to do something with, so I’m going to continue making blankets like the one I did for Freds and give them to a cat charity. I might opt for a big granny square blanket next time.

If you fancy seeing my previous month’s WIPs and progress, here are a couple of links for you – January, February, March, April and May.

What’s on your list? Have you been working on anything exciting in the last month?

Leanne x

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Colours to inspire: purple

In keeping with the purple theme this month, as part of Make May Purple, today’s colours to inspire post is taking on a purple theme. To catch up on other colours to inspire posts I’ve popped the links below for you.


Found on Instagram - colours that inspire - purples. This Little Space of Mine


Purple is one of those colours I’m not normally drawn to, but since making the purple Heidi Bear pony last year I’ve warmed to it. That and now the purple flowers for Make May Purple, it’s a colour I’m certainly getting used to using. It’s the same with any colour, team it up with the right shades and it’ll come to life. Unless it’s red perhaps, I’m not a fan of red!

Even though these are all pictures from homemade makes I hope these can inspire you in other ways too (should you not be a crafter). Perhaps you’re looking to decorate your house this year, or thinking about buying some new furniture, or looking for a new wardrobe, I’d hope there’s something for everyone here.


Found on Instagram - colours that inspire - purples. This Little Space of Mine


Photo from Felicity at craftingwithfelicity. Firstly, I love that this is called lily pond, but more so I love the gradient from purples to greys to blues. Even if you’re not a purple fan, it’s complimented by the other shades and the variety of colours makes for a really pretty piece. Felicity is a big fan of the ripple blanket, so do check out her feed for other colour combination ideas.


Found on Instagram - colours that inspire - purples. This Little Space of Mine


Photo from Sarah at littleduckcrochet. Oh I think I’m a little in love with this colour combination; Sarah’s gone for a more muted, pastel looks that feels perfect for a baby blanket or similar. I love how Sarah’s balanced out the colours with cream in between rows and isn’t her crochet super neat?


Found on Instagram - colours that inspire - purples. This Little Space of Mine


Photo from Nat at little_v_and_me. Just how cute is this? I just love how Nat’s teamed up with purple shades with blue, similar to Felicity’s lily pond blanket. I could imagine these shades being used for decorating walls – perhaps a darker feature wall followed by a lighter shade, or cushions to tie it all in.


Found on Instagram - colours that inspire - purples. This Little Space of Mine


Photo from Rosina at zeensandroger. I couldn’t have a colours to inspire post without one of my favourite colour combinations – pink and yellow. Another ripple blanket, but very different to the lily pond and I like the pastel tones with the brighter yellow and stronger purple shade to tie it all together. Plus the light blue is a really nice touch.

Which is your favourite? Any that specifically stand out? I think my favourite this month goes to littleduckcrochet.

If you’re new to Instagram be sure to pop over to my page and say hello! As always, I’m on the lookout for more combinations, so shout if you see anything on your travels.

Thanks for reading!

Leanne x

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Photo credit: craftingwithfelicity, littleduckcrochet, little_v_and_me and zeensandroger.

Making a granny square crochet blanket using scrap yarn

Hello! I thought I’d drop in today with some pics and notes on a recent project I finished – a granny square crochet blanket. The idea was to stash bust as much as possible, and to give Freds a nice blanket he could cuddle up on, have in his vet basket and take to the cattery when we go away in August.

I pretty much made it up as I went along, there was no real order to it or decision on how big I’d make it; my main aim was very much to stash bust. Here are a few in progress pics…

I opted to slip stitch into squares for the final round of each granny, meaning I didn’t have a big pile of squares to sew up at the end. My big mistake was not weaving in my ends as I went, so I’d definitely recommend doing that! Just look at the mess I had to tidy up, all when I thought I was really close to finishing it.

It’s also worth noting that the yarns I used were quite different, some sometimes a square would come up smaller/bigger than the others. I thought I might need to block it at the end but, to be honest, it’s a blanket for Freds and I kind of like that some squares aren’t quite the same.

Some quick notes for you too:

  • I made 100 squares in total – the blanket took on a 10×10 form
  • I used a 4.5mm crochet hook
  • The finished size of the blanket was: 105x100cm

When it came to the border, it took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do but in the end I went for two rows of trebles followed by a double crochet stitch for the edging. I’m not too hot on my crochet terminology still, so do correct me if I’m wrong. This project was a great learning curve for a newbie-crocheter, so as well as stash busting I felt like I learnt a lot.

And here’s the finished blanket…


Making a granny square crochet blanket using scrap yarn - all about stash busting! Post from This Little Space of Mine



Making a granny square crochet blanket using scrap yarn - all about stash busting! Post from This Little Space of Mine



Making a granny square crochet blanket using scrap yarn - all about stash busting! Post from This Little Space of Mine


Isn’t it pretty? I loved working with all the different colours, making it up as I went and literally just picking colours as I went – I really didn’t overthink it and matched up colours as I went along. I know some people would also work in rows, but for the majority of this make I worked from the centre out.

And my stash of yarn? Very much busted, but still a whole lot of yarn to use! I’m thinking of making a few more of these and donating them to a cat charity; Freds loves his blanket and cuddles up on it next to me when I’m working at home.

Have you worked on any fun crochet projects recently? Love to see some pics!

Leanne x

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A chat with Gem from Borders Bakeshop

Today comes a very special ‘A chat with’ post; I love them all but when you get to share the and talk about a business an old friend is building it feels super exciting. Today I’m talking to Gem, owner of Borders Bakeshop. I met Gem in 2006 when I moved into halls for my final year of Uni; Gem was my next door neighbour and I have fond memories of bonding over baking, sweet treats and of course uni stresses! Since uni Gem and her husband have lived and travelled through various countries, but since having their daughter, Ella, they’ve settled in Scotland (though I’m sure Gem would love to be in Vancouver again!). We’ve always kept in touch and today I’m super excited to be spreading the word about her growing baking business.

Borders Bakeshop is a gourmet baked goods postal service that Gem runs through Instagram and Facebook. Every Monday morning Gem announces the weeks flavour, and come 7pm the order book opens with tasty treats delivered later that week. Boxes typically include brownie, marshmallows, fudge or truffles and I can confirm her bakes are incredible! I’ve tried many of Gem’s amazing bakes over the years (she introduced me to the wonders of Oreo truffles!) and sampled Borders Bakeshops peanut butter and s’mores boxes – boy oh boy is Gem good with her flavour combinations. The boxes received are always so professionally put together and she goes that extra mile to ensure the best possible bakes.

So let’s sit back, put our feet up and have a chat with Gem…

(P.s. there’s an extra special giveaway for readers below!)


A chat with Gem from Borders Bakeshop about baking, family life and running her own business. Interviewed on This Little Space of Mine


Hey Gem, it’s so great to have you here. Let’s kick things off with a little introduction to who you are…

I’m Gem, an almost 30 year old wife to a cookie loving forester and mummy to a Gruffalo loving toddler. We’ve spent the last 10 years living in England, Turks and Caicos, Canada and Wales, finally settling here in the historic market town of Kelso in the Scottish Borders. I love to bake (obviously) and along with that I also love to eat, and pretty much base all my days out and holidays around where the best doughnuts, ice cream, milkshakes and cupcakes can be found! Travelling is my number one favourite thing to do, I also love music and photography and hiking and getting outdoors, and I’m never happier then when I’m in the mountains…or with a jar of Nutella in my hands!

For readers who haven’t heard of Borders Bakeshop could you tell us a little bit about it?

Borders Bakeshop is a gourmet baked goods postal service, I bake up tasty treats in my kitchen here in the Scottish Borders and then I post them out straight to your letterboxes! Each treat box is like a little selection box of baked goods – it changes week to week but there is usually always a blondie or a brownie, marshmallows, fudge or truffles and cookie sticks or rocky roads. There are 8 pieces in each box, and a new flavour each week. The week just gone was a Biscoff themed box, and other flavours that have featured in the past have been Ferrero Rocher & Nutella, Peanut Butter & Oreo, Rolo & Salted Caramel, Red Velvet and S’mores.


A chat with Gem from Borders Bakeshop about baking, family life and running her own business. Interviewed on This Little Space of Mine


For me, one of the best gifts you can give is something tasty

I take orders every Monday. The new flavour gets announced at 7am on my Instagram and Facebook account, if you are a returning customer you can secure a box at that time, but if you are a new customer you can place an order at 7pm on a Monday night. I make 16 boxes each week, and so it is first come first served with the orders. I have two posting days – on a Wednesday and a Thursday, and each box is posted out 1st class with Royal Mail.

And how did the concept for Borders Bakeshop come about?

I have always loved baking, and for the past 10 years I have often lived far away from family and friends in many different places – sometimes abroad, and so finding companies who delivered edible gifts was always a bonus. For me, one of the best gifts you can give is something tasty… and if I’m not nearby to bake for my loved ones then I wanted them to still get something delicious to spoil them on their birthday or when a new baby was born etc.

My little girl Ella was born in 2014, and after making the choice to be a stay at home mom I knew I needed to do something to start bringing in a little bit of income too. Baking seemed like the obvious choice! I am a trained behavioural therapist and have always worked with autistic children, but after a move to the Scottish Borders with my husband’s job last summer there were no work opportunities in the field I’m trained in and so I turned to my number one passion.

It was an idea that had been brewing for a few months, initially I thought of doing a brownies by post service – and had thought of lots of awesome brownie flavours. However, there are quite a few companies out there who just do brownies. One night after a 3am wake up call from my toddler, it came to me – little selection boxes of different baked goodies including brownies. I couldn’t sleep that whole night with a million ideas whizzing around my head of all the different flavour combos I could do, and within a month or so Borders Bakeshop was up and running!

How do your decide on flavours and recipes, and do you have favourite/least favourite ingredients you can share with us?

The recipes I use are mostly tried and tested favourites of mine. I have had a baking blog since 2009 and so over the years I have built up quite a collection of recipes. I now have a great fudgy brownie recipe that I just tweak each week to incorporate the new ingredients of that week. I definitely have favourite ingredients – anyone who knows me will know I am obsessed with coconut, nutella and Oreo’s – so you will find lots of flavour combos that revolve around those ingredients! I’m not personally the biggest fan of chocolate orange, but it has certainly proved to be popular among my customers and I am also not so keen on salted caramel! It’s good to have some flavours that aren’t my favourite though because then I’m not so tempted to eat all the ingredients I’m baking with!

So what does a typical day look like to you?

Tuesday and Wednesday are my baking days, and the busiest days of my week. I wake up and get Ella her breakfast and get her ready for playgroup. She goes to playgroup for 3 hours in the morning, sometimes my husband is able to drop her off and then I get right to my baking. If I’m super organised and hardworking I can make at least 2 of the bakes, or sometimes 3 while she is at playgroup. Then it’s time to pick her up, and we usually try and do something fun in between pick up time and her afternoon nap – she loves to feed the ducks and so we’ll usually try and fit that in and a trip to a playpark.


A chat with Gem from Borders Bakeshop about baking, family life and running her own business. Interviewed on This Little Space of Mine


One night after a 3am wake up call from my toddler, it came to me – little selection boxes of different baked goodies including brownies. I couldn’t sleep that whole night with a million ideas whizzing around my head of all the different flavour combos I could do, and within a month or so Borders Bakeshop was up and running!

After lunch she goes down for a 2 hour nap usually and so I get back to baking, and I start assembling all the boxes and writing out the addresses of where the orders are going to. When she wakes up it’s more fun time – she loves to dress up, and is especially into building towers at the moment and she also likes you to read dozens of books to her over and over!

We eat dinner when my husband gets home from work, and then he’ll usually take her out on a bike ride or to do some gardening together so that I have more time to finish off the bakes, or slice them up. The getting out of the pans and slicing up into as even pieces as possible actually always takes longer than you think! I always make sure I’m done by Ella’s bedtime so I can be there for story time and prayers that we do together as family.

If it’s been a productive day I’ll grab an episode on Netflix with my husband and chill til bedtime! or if not I’ll get back into the kitchen! It’s a really busy day packing everything in. Sometimes I make things harder for myself by making triple layer brownies, and chocolate dipped truffles and so there are always more components to make then just four different bakes! but I always just want to make the bakes as over the top as possible because I enjoy producing something that you can’t really find if you walk into a run of the mill bakery/cafe on any high street. That’s what I like to think makes my boxes a little bit unique. 🙂

What’s the one piece of advise you’d offer to anyone thinking of starting their own business?

I know it’s not very original but just do it! There are always so many fears holding you back, all the what ifs! I always have them just before 7am/7pm on ordering day – Monday. What if no one orders this week? What if everyone is trying to be good this week? What if people don’t have the extra cash to order treats this week? I always worry that those notification won’t start showing up on my phone but sure enough every week they do! It’s so rewarding to be doing what you love for yourself. Like I said before, baking has always been this huge passion of mine, but it’s not just the baking itself I love – it’s the sharing of the end result! So when people share little pictures of the treat boxes they’ve received along with commenting on how delicious everything was or how much they enjoyed it all that makes me SO happy! I could bake every day just for myself and still be happy, but when baking for others and seeing the joy it brings to sometimes complete strangers who I don’t even know, nothing compares to that!


A chat with Gem from Borders Bakeshop about baking, family life and running her own business. Interviewed on This Little Space of Mine


Often people order treat boxes as gifts, and so to think my baked goods are arriving on someones doorstep to cheer them up after bad news, or to bring them congratulations on their new arrival, or a surprise weekend pick me up that they weren’t expecting after a hectic week – that just warms my heart!

What’s the key to a happy life for you?

The key to a happy life is a happy family for me! I’ve always loved the quote by George Bernard Shaw ‘A happy family is but an earlier heaven’. Anytime that I’m spending time with my husband Byron and little girl Ella I am happy! We love exploring and getting outdoors together. We live in a beautiful part of the country so there is always awesome countryside on our doorstep to explore – we love going on bike rides around Kielder Forest in Northumberland, or going to National Trust properties and building dens with Ella, or of course going on foodie filled days out to Edinburgh where I get to visit all of my favourite bakeries for a sugar fix! So obviously getting to stay at home with Ella is just such a blessing for me, and so I am genuinely grateful to all my customers because if it weren’t for all of you buying my baked goods each week I wouldn’t have this amazing opportunity to be home with her each day being silly, playing hide and seek, getting crafty together or watching the Gruffalo and eating popcorn together (which is what she told me was her favourite thing about Mommy staying at home the other day!)

I could bake every day just for myself and still be happy, but when baking for others and seeing the joy it brings to sometimes complete strangers who I don’t even know, nothing compares to that!

And finally, who would you invite to your famous person dinner party (dead or alive) and why?

This was such a tricky question!! I think I’d have to say Gwen Stefani, I’ve been a No Doubt Fan since my teens, and anyone who knows me will know I always adorned my bedroom or Uni walls with wall to wall Gwen pics! So I would definitely like to have a chin wag with her, share a tear over her recent heartbreak and let her share all her cute kiddie pics with me!!

I’d also say Caleb Followill from Kings of Leon, purely so that he could serenade us at the end of our meal because they are some of my fave musicians of all time!


A chat with Gem from Borders Bakeshop about baking, family life and running her own business. Interviewed on This Little Space of Mine


I would also extend an invite to Rosie Daykin – the owner of Butter Baked Goods. We spent a year living in Vancouver, and she is the owner of my favourite bakery I came across while out there – the walls are painted mint green and pastel pinks and they have every manner of sweet treats that you can imagine from peanut butter cookie sandwiches to pineapple coconut scones and mint s’mores to pumpkin spice marshmallows. I think her delicious gourmet marshmallows were what inspired me to start making my own because I knew airfare to Vancouver would be a bit excessive to help me get a homemade mallow fix – seriously if you’ve never tried homemade marshmallows you need to rectify that immediately, they are nothing like the ones you buy in the shops and are like fluffy tasty clouds! I’d like for her to share all her best marshmallow tips with me and hopefully she might turn up with a dessert like her famous coconut cake with cream cheese frosting.

A big thank you to Gem for her time, it’s wonderful to have you on my blog! You can catch Gem and Borders Bakeshop over on Instagram, and Facebook.

And now it’s giveaway time! Gem is very kindly giving away one of next week’s Nutella and cookie dough themed boxes (you heard it here first!). Entries are open now and will close at the end of Monday 30th May. All you need to do is follow the steps below to be in with a chance of winning!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will be picked at random on Tuesday 31st May and we’ll be in touch to get your address ready to send out your prize later that week – so keep an eye out on your emails! Good luck!

If you fancy catching a previous ‘A chat with…’ here are a few links for you –

Finally, I thought I’d put out a call to see if there are any small business owners you’d like to see featured in this series? Or perhaps you’re a small business owner and would like to be interviewed? I’ve got June’s all lined up, but I’m always open to suggestions so drop me an email.

Thanks for reading and good luck with the giveaway!

Leanne x

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What it means to make

I’m joining in with Kate from A Playful Day and her prompt “What It Means To Make” for today’s post.

I write this post at a time of grief; last week my Grandad passed away after being back and forth in hospital for the best part of a year. We didn’t want him to suffer anymore and while there is relief that he’s at peace, my heart feels heavy and I’m so sad I’ll never get to sit in an armchair in their living room and show him my knitting, or photographs or just wait for him to say something cheeky that he shouldn’t say.


What it means to make - This Little Space of Mine


As I hold onto my memories and think about saying my final goodbyes soon, it’s the knitted blanket he made me when I was a little girl that I hold onto. He knitted them for all of the grandchildren and my sister and I always refer to it as ‘Grandad’s blanket’. It’s barely left my side in the last week. Grandad always knitted; my Nan and him have knitted for the WI and for charities for as long as I can remember – blankets, clothing, toys etc. – I can picture their living room now, lined up with teddy bears ready to be sent to children in need of comfort. They gave me one of those teddy bears when I went travelling in 2008; ‘Baz’. The blanket, especially, is incredibly special to me; I’ve travelled with it, slept on it, cuddled it in bad times, wrapped up our various pets in it (even if they didn’t want me to) and it now sits proudly on our yellow armchair in the living room (when it’s not on my lap). Stu says it probably needs a wash, but I like it just the way it is. Note: it has been washed over the years, I just can’t remember the last time that was!

When I think about the blanket, my Grandad and what it means to me to make, I guess eventually it’s the things we make that can be left behind – for our children, grandchildren, family, it’s a piece of us that remains. It’s a piece of my Grandad that can stay with me even though he’s gone. Maybe my sky blanket will be a heirloom, who knows. I’d like to hope so.


What it means to make - This Little Space of Mine


Recently my Nan gave me a bag of squares Grandad had knitted and she hadn’t got round to sewing together. How’s that for teamwork? He’d knit them, she’d sew them together. When I asked her last weekend about his knitting she said she could never keep up with him, that he’d knit morning, noon and night. They’re certainly the memories I have too. She gave the squares to me knowing they’d be loved and they currently sit in my craft room in pride of place. I want to sew them together in hope that one day I’ll be able to give a blanket to my child; they’ll have something special from their Great Grandfather that I hope they’ll love dearly.

So what does it mean to me to make? I guess it’s beyond what it means, it’s entwined in my memories and my family and I don’t think making will ever leave me. It’s not a fad or novelty and there’s barely a day that passes where I’m not using my hands to make something. I have my Grandad, my Nan and my Mum to thank for that, for inspiring and teaching me how to knit.

Sleep well Grandad, I love you xxx

Leanne x

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Baby colour scheme ideas using Stylecraft Yarn’s Special DK collection

Hello! It’s been a while since I’ve shared some yarn peg colour inspiration and so, with my best friends baby due next month, I thought I’d share with you some baby colour scheme ideas using Stylecraft Yarn‘s Special DK collection. I love playing with different colours and it was great fun to sit in the garden last week and put together different combinations to share with you. I’d also like to think my photos have improved since last time!


Baby colour scheme ideas using Stylecraft Yarn's Special DK collection. Post from This Little Space of Mine


Baby colour scheme ideas using Stylecraft Yarn’s Special DK collection

Before I get started I should mention that I know there’s a lot of conversation about colour preferences for babies; some like gender neutral and hate stereotypes like girls in pink, some don’t like dark colours on babies, as two examples. I’m sure there are lots more. With that in mind, I’ve gone for some gender specific ideas, gender neutral ideas, brights and a little darker tones too. I hope there’s something for everyone and, let’s face it, that’s the joy of the Stylecraft Special DK range – there’s something for everyone!


Baby colour scheme ideas using Stylecraft Yarn's Special DK collection - Duck Egg, Storm Blue, Sherbet, Cloud Blue and Silver. Post from This Little Space of Mine


1. Duck Egg, Storm Blue, Sherbet, Cloud Blue and Silver. Kicking off this post with a baby boy inspired colour scheme, thinking of my friend in mind as she’s expecting a boy. I’d avoided going for anything too bright here and instead focused on softer colours with the Storm Blue shade bringing it all together. Grey’s also work well with blue so I added in Silver, plus the Duck Egg shade has a blue/grey feel to it.


Baby colour scheme ideas using Stylecraft Yarn's Special DK collection - Parma Violet, Soft Peach, Candyfloss, Apricot and Cream. Post from This Little Space of Mine


2. Parma Violet, Soft Peach, Candyfloss, Apricot and Cream. By complete contrast to the first idea, here’s a collection of colours with a baby girl in mind. I’ve again opted for soft colours, which are always popular for a baby, and I’ve added in a contrast in the Parma Violet shade. Looking back I’m not convinced it’s entirely worked and the Candyfloss and Soft Peach shades are the standout colours for me.


Baby colour scheme ideas using Stylecraft Yarn's Special DK collection - Grass Green, Citron, Shrimp, Sunshine and Cloud Blue. Post from This Little Space of Mine


3. Grass Green, Citron, Shrimp, Sunshine and Cloud Blue. How about this for gender neutral? I love this collection and how bright it is. I feels like a safari or beach type collection of colours and I love how the colours work together. You’ve got Citron and Sunshine for the summer feeling, Grass Green for a grassy, woodland vibe and Cloud Blue and Shrimp for the seaside. I’m not sure it’d work for a winter baby, but for this time of year it’s an absolute winner and my favourite of the 5 ideas in this post.


Baby colour scheme ideas using Stylecraft Yarn's Special DK collection - Parchment, Soft Peach, Cream, Duck Egg and Stone. Post from This Little Space of Mine


4. Parchment, Soft Peach, Cream, Duck Egg and Stone. I love this collection and feel like it’s a good middle ground between neutral and gender specific – with the inclusion of the Duck Egg and Soft Peach shades. The natural tones of these shades, with Stone and Parchment, feels cosy and suited to a newborn baby and there’s a vibe of the classic neapolitan ice cream about it. Certainly one of the softer collections in this post, this could be used for a baby gift all year round.


Baby colour scheme ideas using Stylecraft Yarn's Special DK collection - Mustard, Lobelia, Fondant, Teal and Empire. Post from This Little Space of Mine


5. Mustard, Lobelia, Fondant, Teal and Empire. I’d say this feels like a more ‘grown up’ baby colour scheme. The colours are quite rich, as well as having a couple of bright tones in the Mustard and Fondant shades, but they’re balanced well with the other colours. The reason I like this collection of colours for a baby is because it feels warm, the warmth of the Lobelia and Teal especially stood out and this makes for a great gender neutral colour scheme. Plus, babies aside I want this is my home!

What do you think? Any standout colour schemes that catch your eye?

I should also mention that I chose Stylecraft Special DK (again) for this post because a) I love their range of colours but b) the yarn washes up really well, which is just what you need for a baby! In terms of where to buy it, there are lots of online and bricks and mortar shops that stock it though I tend to buy from Wool Warehouse as it’s affordable and their delivery is pretty quick!

If you fancy catching up on previous Stylecraft colour scheme posts, here are a couple of links you might like:

Thanks for reading, and do let me know if you have a favourite.

Leanne x

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Life as a crafter: my current works in progress – May 2016

Hello! I’m back today sharing how I’m getting on with my crafting projects – my works in progress and the things I’d like to make this year.

If you’re a regular reader you’ll know to keep it flowing from month to month I have a) created a spreadsheet (because I love a good spreadsheet!) and b) I’m going to copy and paste from post to post and adjust the wording if I’ve made progress. If you see any bits repeat, it’ll tell you I did nothing on it all month!


Life as a crafter - my current works in progress - This Little Space of Mine


April was mainly about making crochet flowers for Make May Purple, but I also managed to finish a granny square scrap blanket I started making last summer. You might also notice that I’ve added a couple of projects to the ‘on my radar’ list, which I’ve promised myself I won’t start on until I’ve finished the ripple blanket. Promise, promise, promise! Anyway, let’s check out the list…

Completed
  • Scraps granny square blanket. Yayyy I finished this and I love how it turned out. I busted through a good amount of yarn, though I still seem to have heaps more! Plus it’s one of the first times I’ve really done bordering on a blanket where I haven’t followed a pattern, but it worked out well and Freds loves cuddling up on it.
  • Secret gift for a friend. Sometimes craft projects just don’t work out, and this was definitely one of those. I followed the pattern right, but it just didn’t come together very well. It looks so bad I’m not even sharing a photo, let alone giving it as a gift. Ah well, live and learn!
Underway
  • The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery ‘Let’s go on an adventure’ stitch-along. I left working on April’s Switzerland pattern until quite late and finished it just in time for the arrival of May’s Greece pattern, which makes me excited for our trip to Greece in August! Cross stitch still remains one of my favourite crafts.
  • Crochet flowers for Make May Purple. Last month I had a lightbulb moment to make purple flowers to support Stroke Association’s ‘Make May Purple’ annual fundraising month. You can find out more about why I’m making them here and if you’d like to buy one for £3 pop over to my JustGiving page.
  • Attic 24 ripple blanket. I started this in May time and it’s been one of those projects I tend to pick it up and put it down every now and then. The pattern is over here.
  • Sew La Di Da dress. I started this around May 2014 and haven’t finished it. To make matters worse there’s not much more to do. I can feel my Mum frowning at me as I type this. Must get this Sew La Di Da make finished for spring.
On my radar
  • Simply Crochet’s bright granny square blanket. I’ve decided on the colours so I’ll be ordering the yarn soon. The plan is for it to match our living room theme and sit on the back of our sofa.
  • Socks! My Mum bought me everything I need to start, for my birthday, so there’s no excuse not to learn how to make them for myself.
  • Patchwork quilt. My friend has asked me to make one using her baby daughter’s baby grows, so this year my Mum and I are going to tackle it as a joint project together.
  • Tilly and the Button’s Françoise dress. I completely forgot about this; my friend bought me this shift dress pattern for Christmas. I love the style of the dress, so perfect for me.
  • San Francisco tapestry cushion. I treated myself big time at the Knitting and Stitching, buying my first tapestry kit from Hannah Bass. I fell in love with her map designs and can’t wait to get started on this.
  • Weekender blanket with Stylecraft’s newest colours. I’ve wanted to make Cherry Heart’s blanket for a while and the newest colours from Stylecraft would be a great colour combination for it – plus when it was limited edition I bought two packs and have now idea what to do with them! Not sure I like how they’re joined in her pattern, so may look for something a bit different.
  • Scrap blanket for charity. I still have a lot of scrap yarns that I need to do something with, so I’m going to continue making blankets like the one I did for Freds and give them to a cat charity. I might opt for a big granny square blanket next time.

Boy that list is getting longer!

If you fancy seeing my previous month’s WIPs and progress, here are a couple of links for you – January, February, March and April.

So this month my main priority is making crochet flowers for Make May Purple. I’m also the type of crafter that needs a couple of other things on the go, when I need a break and to do something different; the Frosted Pumpkin cross stitch project and ripple blanket will fill that gap for me. I’d love to finish the ripple blanket but I know I’ve still got quite a bit to do on it – it’s turning out to be quite a big blanket because I set the width a bit too wide.

What’s on your list? Have you been working on anything exciting in the last month?

Thanks for reading and I hope you have a good week!

Leanne x

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