Archive of ‘Ideas and inspiration’ category

5 crochet blankets to make over the winter months

Having decided to opt for an autumn/winter wedding next year, we’re now turning our thoughts to how to make our wedding feel cosy – lots of lights, colour and warmth is the aim of the game of us. My thinking hat is well and truly on and today I thought I’d share some crochet blanket patterns I’ve seen… ones I’m thinking about making for our wedding. There’s a sofa/chill out area at our venue and, if it’s a dry day, people might want to sit outside for evening food. We may well end up buying blankets for IKEA, but I do love the idea of making them in our chosen wedding colours.

So without further ado, let’s look at some crochet blankets…

5 crochet blankets to make over the winter months
1. C2C

I first came across C2C, or corner to corner, when Holly created Repeat Crafter Me’s crochet Christmas character afghan. It’s not necessarily a new technique, and I haven’t found the origin of it, but I know this to be a great stash buster if nothing else. Unlike most patterns, this one starts in the corner and works out. The photo below is from Holly’s Instagram feed and shows you how it looks in detail. To learn more about how to make it, do have a look at The Crochet Crowd‘s handy guide.


Crochet blankets to make over the winter months - c2c, or corner to corner.


2. V stitch

V stitch is one of those techniques that instantly catches my eye whenever I see it; I love the detailed stripes and depth of each stitch. Similar to the ripple blanket, I think this could be equally as addictive and, given the winter months, I feel like the depth of the stitch could make for a super snuggly blanket that I can make and show off our wedding colours with. There are lots of pattern options on Ravelry, and I liked The Patchwork Heart‘s write up too.


Crochet blankets to make over the winter months - v stitch.


3. As we go stripey

This blanket pattern is slightly different to the rest, as it’s a combination of various stitches. I came across this on Instagram and the blanket was created by Hannah at Not Your Average Crochet. Stitches include granny Stripe, Catharine wheel, star stitch, bobbles and ripple, so it’s the variety that really caught my eye here. Variety is so important when working on big projects, like blankets, so I don’t think you’d get bored making this!


Crochet blankets to make over the winter months - as we go sripey.


4. Waffle stitch

If we’re talking about winter blankets, having something thick and cosy has got to be top of the agenda. The waffle stitch totally fits the bill for that criteria, just look at how deep each stitch is. Team the stitch with a chunky wool and I’d imagine it wouldn’t take too long to work up something really cosy for the colder months. Plus a quick project, win win! Bella Coco has a great video tutorial up to help learn this technique.


Crochet blankets to make over the winter months - waffle stitch.


5. Harlequin

Last but by no means least, the Harlequin blanket. Another one I found from Holly’s Instagram feed, it was the colours that caught my attention. I love the block colours (whichever shades you use) and geometric feel to this make, plus I’m curious about how this stitch works. I found the pattern over on Ravelry and if you want something bold, that’s going to stand out, I feel like this pattern is the one to go for.


Crochet blankets to make over the winter months - harlequin.


Any favourites that jump out at you? I think the waffle stitch is my favourite and would certainly teach me a new technique, but then I’ve heard corner to corner is great for stash busting. But then again, the as we go stripey has some great techniques and variety to it. Decisions, decisions!

Thanks for reading and happy crocheting – let me know if you do make, or have made, any of these in the past.

Leanne x

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Photo credit: holly_pipsThe Patchwork HeartNot Your Average Crochet and Lu North, Strong & Free

Say hello to Paintbox Yarns

Before I get started, let me set the scene. I’m working at home and the doorbell rings. It’s our postman and he hands me a pink bag filled with yarn. I instantly knew it was from LoveKnitting and even said “But I’m not expecting anything”. Poor guy must get that all the time but humoured me by saying “I’m sure you’re going to enjoy it”. Oh yes. What was in that bag was a selection of new kid on the block, Paintbox Yarns, wonderful collection of DK, aran, chunky and cotton yarns.


Say hello to Paintbox Yarns - a first look over at This Little Space of Mine


To say I was shocked is putting it lightly; I had no idea it was coming and the colours were just so beautiful. Even my boyfriend commented on how nice the colours were, a sentiment echoed when I sent a photo to my Mum and sister.

So who are Paintbox Yarns? Exclusive to Love Knitting, they’ve launched with 60 shades in four lines – DK, aran, chunky and cotton. Designed to be “modern, playful and all about colour”, they’ve launched alongside a selection of free knitting and crochet patterns – including this adorable ladybird pattern, plus a variety of items of clothing (if you’re on the lookout for bigger projects).


Say hello to Paintbox Yarns - a first look over at This Little Space of Mine


What’s struck me most about Paintbox Yarns is the collection of shades they’ve launched with; it feels like they’ve nailed it here and I’m excited about this brand and where it’s going and what might be in store. LoveKnitting have also put together a selection of five colour packs, which is where I get to announce something exciting…

It’s giveaway time! I’ve teamed up with LoveKnitting to give you the chance to win both the Fallen Leaves and Winter Frost Simply DK packs – worth over £35 and, more importantly, that’s 20 balls of yarn for you to plan with. All you have to do is head over to my Instagram feed and…

  • Follow both @leanneabeale and @paintboxyarns
  • Comment on the Paintbox yarn post within my feed with the names of up to two friends who you think would also love Paintbox yarns

And that’s it!

The competition runs until 23:59 on Thursday 22nd September 2016 and is open to UK residents only on this occasion.

Soon I’ll be back with some Paintbox Yarns inspired colour combination ideas; I do love putting together interesting colours so I hope you’ll join me for that. In the meantime do check out Paintbox Yarns, I think you’ll be impressed.

Leanne x

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A selection of Paintbox Yarns’ range was sent to me by LoveKnitting, but all opinions and excitement about yarn are my own.

Colours to inspire: yellow

Hello! How are you? Today comes my latest colours to inspire post – where I share images I’ve found on Instagram that I’ve loved, all around a specific theme. Today’s theme is yellow.

To catch up on other colours to inspire posts I’ve popped the links below for you.


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


Why yellow? Well, it’s summer time and there’s not a colour that reminds me more of summer and sun then yellow. Yellow is also part of the colours my best friend chose for her wedding last weekend, alongside grey. What a day it was and I was super proud to be one of her bridesmaids.

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 - yellow. This Little Space of Mine


Photo from the Julie at woolmapoule, found via weareknitters. The first image I found for this post and I love, love, love this! The yellow and white pattern reminds me of honeycomb and, while the yellow is quite bright, it’s balanced out with the white and makes for a beautiful baby blanket, as in the picture. You can see more photos of this blanket over on Julie’s website (note the site isn’t written in English).


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


Photo from Michelle at forever__autumn__. If you’re a regular reader you’ll know how much I love pink, especially when it’s paired with… well, any colour. The magenta shade here, teamed up with the yellow, blues/greens and greys is scrummy and I’d love to make this for myself sometime. I especially like how Michelle has used the strone/dark grey, and how it’s then softened with the rows of cream. Looking at Michelle’s Instagram feed I think she’s a big fan of yellow, so worth checking out if you do too.


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


Photo from Natalie at littlecosythings. You can’t beat a good ripple blanket pattern (hint hint) and I especially love that this matches the colours from last weekend’s wedding. I quite like the randomness of when colours appear in this blanket; I’m more one for order, but this works well – there might even be an order that I can’t see. The thick stripes of yellow contrasted with grey and yellow makes for a great summer collection.


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


Photo from Emma at eldenwood_craft. You can’t beat a good set of stripes and I love how bold this make is with the strong blue and yellow combination. Could make for a great scarf, gloves, socks or blanket, there’s something fun about these two colours paired together. Emma’s worked with some ace colour combinations so do check out her Instagram feed.

Which is your favourite? Any that specifically stand out? I think my favourite this month has to go to Michelle at forever__autumn__.

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: woolmapoule, forever__autumn__, littlecosythings and eldenwood_craft.

The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery’s pumpkin passport – 6 months in!

Hello! I thought I’d share an update on one of my goals for 2016 today – to join in with The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery ‘pumpkin passport’ year long cross stitch project.

If you haven’t heard of The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery before I highly recommend checking out their website; created by Amanda and Ashleigh they offer modern, fun, kawaii-inspired cross stitch projects that are seriously cute. As well as many other products, they’ve also developed a year-long cross stitch project – set around a theme and with a new pattern released on the 1st of the month. I’d wanted to take part for a long time and this year’s theme is travel.


The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery's Pumpkin Passport year long cross stitch along - 6 months in!


We’re now six months into the project and so far we’ve stitched England, France, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Greece and most recently, Russia. On the 1st of every month (or 1am on the 2nd for us in the UK) the newest pattern is emailed over, with a clue as to what next month might be. I always like to have a guess, but have got it very wrong recently! I think July’s pattern might be Egypt, so watch out on my Instagram page to see if I’m right.

In terms of favourites… I’ve loved them all, but maybe The Netherlands has been my favourite? But then I loved doing London (I was definitely in the novelty phase!).


The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery's Pumpkin Passport year long cross stitch along - 6 months in!


It’s the first year-long project I’ve taken on since my knitted sky blanket and I love it; it’s reminded me just how enjoyable cross stitch is and I love seeing each pattern arrive. It was a Christmas gift from my Mum and it’s definitely a gift that keeps giving!


The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery's Pumpkin Passport year long cross stitch along - 6 months in!


Are you joining in with the pumpkin passport this year? Or any other year-long projects? Hope you’re enjoying it!

Leanne x

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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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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.

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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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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Colours to inspire: stripes

Hello! Hump day already – how’s your week going? Today I’m sharing another set of colours to inspire, all found on Instagram recently. You’ll notice I’ve tweaked the title of this series slightly – hopefully making it easier for people to find when searching for colour inspiration.

Oh and if you’ve missed any previous colours to inspire post, here are the links:

If you’re new to Instagram be sure to pop over to my page and say hello!


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


With the brighter days generally in full swing, I’ve been loving all the bright colour combinations popping up on Instagram recently. There’s something really uplifting and bold about stripes so this month is very much inspired by that, and the change in season we’re seeing at the moment.

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 - bright stripes. This Little Space of Mine



Photo from Jo at jo_bo_crochet. I love the stitch in this blanket, it’s one I haven’t tried yet but gives a great finished affect. Jo’s Instagram feed is great and I love the randomness of this stripey project; the yellow/pink/yellow towards the left of the picture is probably my favourite, but all the shades work really well together.



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



Photo from Joan at madebyjustjoan. Oh how I adore these colours together. They’re so bright, sunny and inviting; the blanket almost looks like a gradient and I absolutely love how Joan has combined the colours. Plus, you can’t beat a bit of granny stripes can you?



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



Photo from Sonja at ratschebutsch. Another granny stripe blanket and the yellow stripe in this blanket really catches my eye; I love a yellow and pink combination so this colour combination is an all round winner. Sonja’s crocheting is also super neat and she’s captured her work really well in this picture.



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



Photo from Nicole at bluecatcrochet. And finally, something a little different. The royal blue shade in this combination is striking and really caught my eye – teamed up with the orange and pick and I think it makes for an interesting collection of colours. The ripple technique looks great and I could see this looking good as a picnic blanket.

Which is your favourite? Any that specifically stand out? I’m on the lookout for more combinations, so shout if you see anything on your travels and I might pop it in a later post.

Thanks for reading!

Leanne x

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Photo credit: jo_bo_crochetmadebyjustjoanratschebutsch and bluecatcrochet.

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