[Handmade Gifts]: Elliott & Nora

Here are the new additions to my handmade ‘Elliott & Nora’ plush cushion range that come in various baby blue, baby pink and other neutral-coloured fabric! These adorable hephalumps will be listed on my Etsy shop with all the deets you need for your custom orders! If you need a plush elephant-shaped cushion before that, then simply drop me an email! Otherwise, hold yer ‘orses….they’ll be coming soon to Etsy! :) xx

BLOG_STRIP_Elliott-&-Nora-WEB[Image credit: Made by Molu, all rights reserved]

[Personalised Gifts]: Meet Elliot…

BLOG_STRIP_Meet-Elliot-WEB[Image credit: Made by Molu]

It’s been a while since I made any elephant cushions and I couldn’t resist making this little guy to compliment the custom-made cushion I did for my friend (see my earlier post). I’ve even added a bit of lavender so that he smells divine! He will be available on Etsy soon (I’ll be doing two sizes, one at approx 20x20cm and another at 40x40cm in different fabric choices) so do stay tuuuuuuned!! xx

[D.I.Y. Gifts] Personalised / Made-to-order cushions for little’uns

I’ve been busy practicing my sewing skills during my spare time especially since the last little lavender cushion was received quite well. And despite my hesitance, I’ve been encouraged more and more to actually start selling them.  So before I do, I’ve been playing around with designs, styles, materials, sizes, etc to get a good feel for what i’d like to sell and in turn knowing what design templates to create in the spare time I have….not to mention sharpen up my sewing skills even further! So here are two that I made and there’s two more on the way!! Seeing as I LOVE typography and now sewing, I’ve been trying to collaborate the two into the designs – keeping them simple but bespoke. I designed the type using various design softwares and then use that as a template to cut out the appliqués which I then hand-sew onto the fabric panels that make the cushion. (FYI – all the fabric used here are premium 100% Cotton) When the panels are machine stitched together, they are stuffed with polyester filling  (I can add lavender if requested) and finally hand-sew them shut. So then – what do you think folks? Is it a “yae or nae”? Would you buy these for your little ones? :) Or they can be used for Baby Showers too? I’m pretty pleased with them but I would love to hear what you think of these too (I have a couple more to show by this weekend) and always welcome any tips if you have any! Thanks!! x  BLOG_STRIP CUSHIONS3 WEBBLOG_STRIP CUSHIONS WEB BLOG_STRIP CUSHIONS2 WEB

[D.I.Y. Gifts] They say an elephant never forgets….

Here’s a peek into these little personalised fabric soft toy-keepsakes I made for a couple of new tots that arrived last month – these were sent out along side the baby grows I had made (see my previous posts) as an extra touch of handmade love ;) Sticking to the elephant theme (I used the same template from the baby grows) I hand-sewed these out of 100% cotton fabric with lots of love and added a bit of lavender into the stuffing. What you don’t see here unfortunately, is that I added  ribbon ties to the top affixed with a bow and button so that they could be hung on the door handle or wall hook. I have had a few orders since these so will be making them in my spare time over the next couple of months with various fabric but in pastel blues and pinks –  will keep you posted on that later. Let me know what you think……and you know where to find me if you want any made for you! xxx
BLOG_STRIP soft toys 2A WEB

[Personalised Gifts]: Lavender Hearts for Mother’s Day

My folks were over last week (hated saying goodbyes yesterday!) so I was really fortunate to have spent Mother’s Day together as a complete family unit! I’m not normally big on commercialised occasions but when you are separated by miles of land and oceans, time spent together is truly invaluable! And what are my chances that their impromptu visit coincided with Mother’s Day. So yea, I cannot be more grateful really.

Anyway, seeing as I was feeling a lot more confident with the sewing machine, I set out to make some lavender hearts for my two Mums (mine and my husband’s!) as small token of our love for them and all that they have done and sacrificed for us over the last twenty/thirty odd years! In the end, I ended up making 3 large hearts and two small ones! :D So here’s how they turned out………..ohhh and boy did they just smell simply divine!!!BLOG_STRIP lavender hearts WEB2 BLOG_STRIP lavender hearts2 WEB2

These lavender hearts can be a perfect little accompaniment to a vintage themed tea party, bridal shower  or a wedding so if you would like one made to order then simply drop me a line (via email, here or on my Facebook page) to discuss it further. I can have them made in various different fabrics, colours and sizes depending on your requirements and can even be personalised to include their name etc. More details will be posted on Facebook so stay tuned. xx

[Behind the scenes]: Clementine & Bloom

desk 2 WEBI first came across the works of this lovely duo at the ‘Handmade in Britain’ event held at the Old Chelsea Town Hall back in November last year (see my post here) and was immediately drawn to their beautifully embroidered cushions! Clementine and Bloom, a mother-daughter team, who design and make luxury homeware, have only recently emerged into the competitive world of craft and design and have successfully done so with many interests shown in their work and with positive reviews about their work. I simply felt I needed to share more about them and their work on here just so you see what I’m talking about! Here’s my recent interview with them:
  • Tell us more about your backgrounds – have you both always wanted to specialise in printed textiles and embroidery? [Sandra]: I have always been interested in art and have always crafted for personal enjoyment. I decided to study printed textiles after becoming frustrated by the lack of bold colourful fabric designs available. [Sophie]: We have always been creative at home, but the really defining moment for me was at the age of 14 when we took a free machining course at the local sewing shop. Other than the textiles lessons I had had at school this was the first time I could see the potential to be experimental on fabric.
  • What drew you into setting up Clementine & Bloom? We had always discussed combining our skills in the future, after Sophie graduated and the potential for paid employment within embroidery looked unlikely we began to brainstorm. There’s nothing worse than being a creative and then finding yourself idle; idle hands lead to us to make a few items for our own home and then it was just a case of evolving it in to a business.

desk 1

  • What five words best describe you and your style of work? [Sandra]: colour, pattern, scale. [Sophie]: texture, experimental
  • What’s the main source of inspiration for your creations? We are inspired by anything and everything from the organic shapes and patterns in nature to the repetitive order and design found in architecture.
  • How would you describe your design process and what part of it do you like the most? [Sandra]: When we’re designing a new collection we always start with the research which involves the library and sight visits (museums or even just venturing into the garden.) Then the drawing begins. Once we feel we have plenty of visual material we begin to evolve the images on the computer; for every ten designs we select there are another twenty or so that are either rejected or filed away for the future. I really enjoy the drawing element of the design process the most. [Sophie]: Once all the initial research has been gathered I like to move into materials, experimenting with manipulation, colour and textures. We then bring all these elements together to create our collection. 
  • Is there any craft/art medium you haven’t tried but want to? And why? [Sandra]: I would love to take an upholstery course but haven’t been able to yet just from lack of time! [Sophie]: yes definitely upholstery, then we could combine our love of antique furniture with our bold fabric.

studio 1 screen printing tableheat press

  • There’s been a huge boom in craft and design in the last few years – would you say it’s been difficult breaking into this competitive world? It has been a difficult time to start a business in the creative industry as established designers who have been working for several years have told us. People have less money to spend at the moment and the huge interest in craft means they want to learn to make things for themselves, however we are taking things slowly and learning so much along the way – one of our family motto’s is ‘Slow and steady wins the race!’
  • What do you like most about your business? And is this a full-time business? We love that we have complete control – from the fabric design to the finished product to what time we begin work in the morning – who doesn’t want to be their own boss? On a practical level we both enjoy the ‘making’ side of the business and love to spend time in the studio screen printing fabric, what they don’t tell you when you start a business is just how much time is dedicated to paperwork and answering emails etc.
  • When you’re not in ‘designer-maker’ mode, what else do you enjoy doing? [Sandra]: I like to visit art galleries and exhibitions on my days off and getting outdoors walking my dog, but my eyes are always open and my mind is always thinking so I’m never sure it actually is switch-off time! [Sophie]: I love hunting through antique shops searching for hidden treasure. I also love nothing more than spending a day in the kitchen cooking up a feast!
  • Have you any tips for like-minded creative individuals who would like to one day set up a business themselves in this field? We would say to anyone who is thinking of entering this field to go for it. The hours are long but when a customer comes along and says ‘I really love this and I want it in my home’ it makes everything worthwhile. Be prepared to spend a lot of time in front of the computer but never under-estimate the value of social media as you can reach so many people in this way.

clementine&bloom_web 2

  • Are there any designer-makers out there that you find inspirational – if so, who? Too many to list but here are a few. Lucienne Day – innovative and colourful designs, Grayson Perry – colour, detail and not afraid to broach difficult subject matters in his work, Henry Moore – his textiles are colourful and fun and use everyday objects in their design and lastly Anna Maria Horner – bold designs in vibrant colours, lovely!
  • Of your current work, what piece would you say is your favourite? [Sandra]: my favourite design at the moment is the Polka Dot Beetle; I love the colours and the scale means it’s not obvious immediately what the pattern is made up of, I’m planning on covering an old chair in this fabric. But I also love the Gilded Butterfly lampshades and the way they catch the light. [Sophie]: I love the Dancing Beetle pattern, although I consider it to be our ‘neutral’ it’s still a bold, geometric design in a colourway that does not fight with other colours or patterns in your home – this is why I am having my antique French bed re-upholstered in it! I also love the Papilio lampshade, I think it’s luxurious and decadent and unlike other lampshades in the homeware market.
  • What would we expect from Clementine & Bloom in the future? We have another collection in the very early stages of development and are looking at the potential of a wallpaper printed to coordinate with the Entomology range.
  • Finally, where can we find more of your wonderful creations? And can we find you at any craft + design events this year? We have a shop on our website where all the designs are available www.clementineandbloom.com. We have some trade shows planned this year and are also exhibiting in the Launchpad area of Pulse at Earls Court, London in May.
clementine&bloom_web 1
A HUGE ‘thank you’ to Sandra and Sophie for taking their time out to answer all my questions and for supplying some wonderful photos of their studio and samples of their key work. Aren’t they simply fabulous?! Totally envious of their studio space and all those gorgeous rich colourful textiles!! Anyhow, I sincerely wish you both all the very best for 2013 – not that you need much as you seem to be doing pretty well! And I’m sure i’ll bump into you two again! :) All the best! xx
CONTACT ME text_web