Indulge In Some Cultural Inspiration In Cambridge

The Futon Company Window Display Cambridge

The Futon Company Window Display Cambridge

We hope you were are all prepared for the clocks going back and you have been keeping well and cosy at home this blustery weekend! We are all making our wish lists for a few road trips and minibreaks away. It might be to escape for some me time or to enjoy the company of and visit your nearest and dearest (socially distanced and preferably outside of course) and cheer up our Autumnal blues.

Here is a sneak preview of our articles for HotEnough.com with the low down on visiting Cambridge this season. We would like to give you some charmingly British, style inspiration. Just follow the links below to HotEnough.com to see the photos and read about where to check out first.

Cambridge Fabric Shop Window Display

Cambridge Fabric Shop Window Display

Our favourite places are those that support the high street boutiques and market stall holders in Cambridge. We have liked the Futon Company for years ever since we were students wanting to furnish our first 'digs'. Their reasonably priced furniture is useful and stylsh. Fatface is a must for all the outdoors gear and warm woolly we all need at this time of year when the cool wind starts to blow. The Cambridge Fabric company is full of gorgeous colours and British designed textile finds.

Fatface shop in city centre with University of Cambridge architecture

Fatface shop in city centre with University of Cambridge architecture

It's a joy to browse around the Market Square and visit the arts and crafts fair. There are some good quality vintage and second hand charity shops to take a peak in if you have time too. Pre-loved fashion is always a purse friendly, ethical and sustainable option and its fun to look through the ecclectic rails. 

Being an academic capitol there are always the super book shops to stop by and peruse. Ideal for picking up some bed time reading for the longer nights ahead.

Cambridge has an awesome selection of cafes but for the view then taking coffee upstairs in Starbucks, at the Market Square, definitely has the edge. We recommend the independent bakeries dotted around the city that sell lots of special hot drinks too.

Starbucks Cambridge with view to Market Square

Starbucks Cambridge with view to Market Square

It is so important to shop locally but if you are lucky enough to be able to visit beautiful Cambridgeshire here are our top tips:

Independent Boutiques and Markets are Brilliant in Cambridge

https://www.hotenough.com/2020/10/24/support-the-high-street-boutiques-and-market-stall-holders-in-cambridge/

Where To Stay for a Budget Cost Minibreak in Cambridge

https://www.hotenough.com/2020/10/16/where-to-stay-for-a-budget-mini-break-in-cambridge/

Cool Places to Go in Cambridge without Breaking the Bank

  https://www.hotenough.com/2020/10/19/cool-places-to-go-in-cambridge-without-breaking-the-bank/

The Best Big Store Shopping in Central Cambridge

  https://www.hotenough.com/2020/10/23/the-best-big-store-shopping-in-central-cambridge/

Do join in and sign up for the HotEnough.com website monthly newsletter to keep posted on all the latest cool places to discover, as well as fresh updates on hot topics and happenings in England this week. It will pop up with a request when you first visit the home page and all you need is your email address.

It is of course essential to follow the latest government guidelines and restrictions for your area. We must all be cautious when travelling and just do what is safe for the public to do at this challenging time, as we all work together to make sure there is enough distance away from each other, to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Cambridge University architecture

Cambridge University architecture

Keep safe and enjoy supporting our restaurants, museums, superstores and independently owned shops in our high streets nationwide. Our communities will benefit from our custom in the long term. Thank you for your interest in Create Display, you can see some of our handmade interior art in our Etsy shop https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/CreateDisplay . We wish you all happy shopping, jolly city exploring and more great road trip adventures in the future.

Cambridge Mill Pond Boating

Cambridge Mill Pond Boating

For all the links for our Cambridge feature please see individual articles via the links above.
The Cambridge Fabric Company https://thecambridgefabriccompany.com/
The Futon Company https://www.futoncompany.co.uk/
Starbucks Cambridge https://www.starbucks.co.uk/store-locator/store/1012127/cambridge-christs-lane-unit-4-cambridge-eng-cb-1-1-np-gb

 

A Dozen Tips For De-Cluttering Your Home Create Display Style

2020 fireplace and mantlepiece with 'lime wash' paint effects by Amanda Howse

2020 fireplace and mantlepiece with white washe paint effects by Amanda Howse

This year I have been considering the benefits of 'less is more' and following the philosophy getting seriously organised in a manor made famous by Marie Kondo. I have been heading towards living in a a Zen of minimalism in a practical step by step fashion.

The Queen of de-cluttering recommends beginning with your wardrobe and then methodically re-assessing each area of your house and then your life, until you are all completely sorted. At the KonMari website you can purchase the Japanese expert's latest book 'The Life Changing Magic of Magic of Tidying Up' or you can get ahead of detoxing your stuff by downloading the digital podcast version from Audible. (1) (2)

The aim is to love everything you keep and free up your thoughts, time and soul to embrace all the wonderful activities life has to offer without becoming weighed down by ones own baggage. Like many people I share my life with some amazing and creative individuals.

De-cluttered Sitting Room  Ready for Guests Interior Design by A Howse

De-cluttered Sitting Room Ready for Guests Interior Design by A Howse

My personal team include some fabulous collectors who really enjoy owning lots of interesting and useful stuff. I also spend time with close friends and family who are known for being so minimalist they are quite happy with just a suitcase and who have proven that they are happy calling a sailboat home for years.

I sit somewhere in the middle of this spectrum I believe, as I once moved from London to Florida with only a big suitcase. When I returned nearly five years later myself and my life partner relocated to the South East of England with just 10 bags between us and some help from a very kind best friend who was flying back to the UK with us that day.

Detail of Sitting Room with neutral scheme Interior Design and cushion design by A Howse

Detail of Sitting Room with neutral scheme Interior Design and cushion design by A Howse

However since then as a qualified designer with a passion for retro and antique furniture, textiles and anything to do with fashion I have happily snapped up many vintage bargains and unmissable pieces that I just knew would be fabulous in our modest sized home.

With my creative family 'onboard' I have been fortunate to have been able to add into the mix enough tools and gadgets to build our own extension and pursue a super range of outdoor pursuits. We are lucky to have invested in some half decent equipment of various sorts and enough second hand musical instruments to form a rock band. So we definately have a home fit for a 'KonMari' field day.

Its early days on the complete minimalist shakedown project for us. There have already been some small successes along the way. There is no point reinventing the the wheel when trying to reclaim precious space in your home. Therefore the first thing I did was to consider the six KonMari basic rules of tidying that are recommended in her book and on her website:

Rule 1 is “Commit yourself to tidying up”

Rule 2 is “Imagine your ideal lifestyle”

Rule 3 is “Finish decluttering first”

Organised interior inspiration: Hotel room in Valencia Penya-Roja

Bedroom with upcycled storage bed, vintage art and handmade cushions Interior by A Howse

Bedroom with upcycled storage bed, vintage art and handmade cushions Interior by A Howse

2020 has been a difficult and crazy year for nearly everyone on the planet. My 'big sort out' actually started last year in Spring 2019 when I took two car loads of clothes and good quality things to our local Cancer Research charity shop in our nearest city.

There is a link below to their website quickly locate your nearest store. The 'low hanging fruit' was relatively easy. Of course you can select your favourite organisation to benefit from your pre-loved possessions.

I now reguarly swap clothes with my sisters, Mum and friends too which is a lot of fun.

Not buying any unnecessary extra things has been an important part of my transition to some sort of minimalist lifestyle. I now shop 'intentionally' and aim to only ever buy what is on my shopping list. This applies to everything from M&S sale bargains to fresh market food shopping. I now strive for quality over quantity in all departments.

We were all given a crash course on just buying a few essentials and editing our diary to exclude shopping as a pastime in March when Boris Johnson announced a full lockdown of shops and food stores began limiting the amount of items you could buy of many basic goods. Even a family pack of loo roll became a wish list luxury for a couple of weeks. The upside of all these restrictions is that most people have had time to assess what they have and use what they already own.

Homegrown crab apple sauce and oat breakfast in Vintage 'Queen's Shape' Wedgewood bowl

Homegrown crab apple sauce and oat breakfast in Vintage 'Queen's Shape' Wedgewood bowl

During these months where 'staying in has become the new going out' most of us have had time to consciously analyse what possessions we surround ourselves with and what we really need. We have had a chance to also consider what actually gets in the way of us making the most of the space in our house and what helps or hinders us in the pursuit of living our best lives.

My advice with this initial stage of de-cluttering would be to:

  1. Give yourself time in your diary to devote to this process.

    Allocate some time every weekend (if you can) to going through the house and discovering what you can quickly clean, sort, give away, donate, reuse, repurpose or throw away.

  2. Encourage other family members to join in with a little 'tidy time'. Show them how you 'divide and conquer' your things into neat shelves, simply divided drawers and tidy cupboards. Put on some upbeat music if this helps get you all moving in the right direction.

  3. Keep a bag or box in the hallway labelled 'take to the charity shop' ready to drop into town. Have it ready to pick up and drop into town when you next going to your nearest retail centre.

  4. Stick to purchasing essential toiletries, groceries, gifts for others you know they want. Purchase new 'urgent items' only while you sort out the 'wheat from the chaff' to avoid buying duplicate items. Shop as intentionally as possible in every area of your life. Think about enjoying experiences with family and friends rather than buying eachother 'more stuff'.

  5. Focus on indoor sorting when the weather is bad and quickly go through the garden and any garages and sheds when the weather is fine.

  6. Empty all your bins as often as possible. Order a green bin to collect garden waste from the local council if you need to.

  7. Put away clean washing quickly so it doesn't add mess to your bedroom or any other rooms unless you are lucky enough to have a dedicated laundry area.

  8. Decanter toiletries and larder cupboard staples and label up if needed as you pack away your groceries. Recycle any packaging from groceries and post parcels quickly to avoid it lying around. This all gives a minimalist look to your space.

    I like to use Avery labels I order for my office. Number 21 blank labels are 64 x 38mm which is big enough for labelling boxes in storage clearly and they can be easily cut down in size for smaller bottles. Just add clear tape over the top to make your pots moisture and splash proof. Make swing tickets from cereal box packaging and a hole punch easily and tie onto baskets and bags with left over wool, string or ribbons.

  9. Use beach bags, shopping bags and baskets you already have to help you organise your items and save buying the perfect container for when you know exactly what you need.

  10. Enjoy flowers, plants and produce that come from the garden or local nursery or is in season to help motivate you and cheer your progress at this stage.

  11. Use the 'posh crockery' etc. if you have some, what are you waiting for? When on on your home management mission think about the minimalist mantra "quality not quantity" and the quote by the architect Le Corbusier that "Less is More" .

  12. Just do one maintenance, sewing, DIY or craft project at a time during this phase to help minimise visual clutter and extra 'stuff' to find a place for.

To quote Marie Kondo the famous Japanese tidy expert; we hope you can "find joy" in some of the things you own and in the process of what can be a surprisingly therapeutic and unexpectedly rewarding process. Good luck with phase 1 of sorting out your stuff and heading closer towards living in the pad of your dreams. We will have more top tips as we go along too!

Organised interior inspiration: Hotel room in Valencia Penya-Roja

Organised interior inspiration: Hotel room in Valencia Penya-Roja

Over the next few weeks I plan to bring you some more updates, tips and tricks on tackling the different zones involved with a 'major home de-clutter'. We will let you know about some of our successes and our areas for improvement too. I will aim to add some home interior inspiration for good measure. We would love to hear about your new tidy lifestyle adventures as well, so do get in touch by email at our contact page

http://www.createdisplay.com/?page_id=528

You can also share photos on our facebook page

https://www.facebook.com/createdisplaydesign/

Keep creative and happy sorting!

 
Marie Kondo website https://shop.konmari.com/
Marie Kondo books https://shop.konmari.com/collections/books/products/the-life-changing-magic-of-tidying-up-1
Avery website https://www.avery.co.uk/
Cancer Research Shop https://shop.cancerresearchuk.org/
Primus Hotel Valencia https://hotelprimusvalencia.com/en/

 

My May and June Makes That Might Just Inspire You

This rainbow cloud painting is a bit different from my usual oil cloudscapes! I wanted to create a more graphic image using the rainbow symbol which had become an important symbol of hope, positivity and support for the NHS and key workers during the lockdown. The whole country has been staying at home to prevent the spread of coronavirus and some people are still socially isolating for health reasons in the UK and also abroad internationally too. We are all keeping our safe distance and just meeting outside for now.

Thankfully we are very fortunate to have a garden which has been a haven for us during these warm dry months and makes a good outdoor studio too.

Rainbow cloud with musical notes artwork by A Howse

Rainbow cloud with musical notes artwork by A Howse

Layers of pastel and metallic water based paints were applied to this deep canvas and shaped tissue paper was used for the cloud texture. Treble clef wooden blanks were painted and glued onto the canvas to represent musical creativity coming out to lift the spirits of people during the many clouded dark days when millions of British citizens are either staying indoors or going to work in a very stressful environment.

This daily battle with Covid-19 has been the situation for many brave medics, carers and emergency services across the nation and we are all very grateful for their dedication. Many people have had to deal with the loss of their loved ones and that cloud of sadness was shared throughout the nation. The notes that fall like dark rain are small but defined as they are hand drawn with charcoal ink. There is however brightness on the horizon within this image and the light that is refracted through the cloud has vibrant tints and a glimpse of some promising blue skies in the future. The wooden rainbow is three dimensional and painted using colourful acrylics in primary hues and then glued on in its central location to make a bold statement.

Musical guitar notes artwork by A Howse

Musical guitar notes artwork by A Howse

This painting features musical notes and guitars and celebrates creating and listening to live music. During lockdown we decided to learn how to play the guitar and this deep canvas painting accompanies our living space. I wanted to add a decorative element of living by the coast into the design so I added briny waves in sunset colours. This means the artwork also blends well with the rooms interior scheme and with my hand printed stripey cushions.

Musical guitar notes artwork with interior by A Howse

Musical guitar notes artwork with interior by A Howse

The background in this deep canvas was constructed with layers of water based paints which were allowed to dry individually and so it took several days to complete. A three dimensional effect is added by glueing painted wooden treble clefs that were sourced on etsy.com. Cut out crotchets, quavers, minims and semibreves are painted on and also collaged using bright and metallic cards. Printed sheet music of some of our favourite tunes add some detail and interest too.

If anybody would like a copy or a print of either of these original images please get in touch via facebook or email on our contact page.

To see more colourful items for your home check out our etsy shop which is open anytime https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/CreateDisplay

We hope you enjoy these pieces and that 2020 keeps you safe and creative and brings you many brighter days ahead.

 

Create Display Rainbows Reach 3 Parishes

Three Parishes magazine, Sussex

Three Parishes magazine, Sussex

We are delighted to have been able to contribute to one of our West Sussex community magazines with a cheerful rainbow photograph from our own collection.

This month we were very happy to work with the Secretary Ms Neighbour on Issue 44 of a special lockdown edition of Three Parishes.
Gold field rainbow photo by Amand Howse

Gold field rainbow photo by Amand Howse

 

This 50 page free publication is distributed to the residents of Tillington, Duncton and Upwaltham. Located about 12 miles north of the coast within the South Downs National Park and near to the historic town of Petworth, these pretty areas include around five hundred homes.

Our image looks north from Chichester harbour towards Goodwood racecourse and these rural hamlets.

Cool girl with dog rainbow wall hanging by Amand Howse

Cool girl with dog rainbow wall hanging by Amand Howse

There are several articles in the A5 sized colour printed paper including a vibrant feature about artwork the children and young people have produced in response to the coronavirus lockdown. The contents includes some excellent letters and stories. There are also fun quizzes and recipes and lots of local information and details that will help everyone in the area keep in touch and know what is currently on offer in their vicinity.

Upcycled wool rainbow throw by Amanda Howse

Upcycled wool rainbow throw by Amanda Howse

Every parish in the country has been affected by the pandemic and the whole of the UK is staying at home this Spring (if it is possible with their work) to prevent the spread of the contagion. Local communication and support is very important at this time as many older and vulnerable people are self isolating and information about businesses that can deliver and volunteers who can help their neighbours is very helpful.

West Sussex has a relatively older rural population who don't all wish to use or don't all have access to the internet so regional press is important for knowing about news and the services happening within walking and cycling distance.

Our vivid landscape image looks brilliant framed by the editor with an emerald green background. We hope this golden snapshot has been a positive addition to lots of coffee tables in the leafy hamlets of the Downs.

Cool girl with dog rainbow wall hanging by Amand Howse

Spring rainbow photograph by Amanda Howse

Spring rainbow photograph by Amanda Howse

I plan to continue to practice capturing the stunning light phenomenon of this picturesque harbour and surrounding countryside on the south coast. These images influence my artwork like the 'Cool Girl Rainbow Dog' wall hanging which can be found in our etsy shop here:

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/CreateDisplay

This Spring I have been continuing to paint and sew colourful textiles inspired by nature. This wool and cashmere shawl is a work in progress that is currently draped on my mannequin. We could enjoy it as a warm throw on a painted vintage armchair. Alternatively if I continue to develop the design it could become a 'coatigan' style cover up, ready for the winter months. The cosy wrap is made from upcycled fabric scarves with the added feature of cotton and wool embroidery threads in striking contrast stitches.

During this year's mental health week we encourage everyone to have a chat with their friends, family and neighbours especially those who may have gone a bit quiet and who may be on their own right now. We hope you are enjoying the sunshine, keeping active and creative and we wish you lots of brighter days ahead.

Upcycled rainbow shawl by Amanda Howse

Upcycled rainbow shawl by Amanda Howse

 

6 Top Tips for Wrapping Up Your Sewing Alterations on Lockdown

Altered plum top by A Howse

Altered plum top by A Howse

Tip 1

Find some of your family's clothes that need basic mending and only simple repairs and tackle them sewing by hand in the garden. Alternatively enjoy some hand stitching in front of your favourite comedy or drama series. We recommend downloading the first episode in the new series of The Great British Sewing Bee which is on BBC1 on Wednesdays at 21:00 and has already just landed on BBC iplayer catchup, for some entertaining inspiration to get you in the mood.

    
A Howse's 'quick'win' alterations basket

A Howse's 'quick'win' alterations basket

Tip 2

Most people keep a box of wearable items to 'do on a rainy day' in a storage area or loft at home. These pieces to be altered can be split into two piles. Allocate a 'quick win' pile and also a more 'substantial project' stack. Pop the ones that won't take much time into a pretty basket or box like this vintage shopper. Find a small space in your work room or dining room or wherever you will find them when you have some time to catchup on 'things you have been meaning to do for ages'. Improving the fast to finish items first will feel satisfying and allow you to 'clear the decks' swiftly, spurring you on to attempt the bigger fashion challenges later.

Gather everything you need for your 'quick win' box in advance. Include your basic sewing tools and threads, small offcuts for making patches and haberdashery, edging and bindings as required. If possible keep these in your basket so you are ready to go when you have some quiet time to craft. Think about colours you want for your trimmings and order anything you need to complete your speedy fixes smoothly.

Blue top makeover by A Howse

Blue top makeover by A Howse

Tip 3

My dark ultramarine blue polo neck from Target in Florida, USA was damaged after being worn under overalls when I was painting recently. I chopped the sleeves short and re-cut the neckline to make it into a T-shirt instead. As the fabric is very fine 'tissue T viscose cotton mix' I hand rolled the edges and hemmed with small stitching. Then I went over the top with my sewing machine on a 'zig-zag' setting. If you have an overlocker (mine is inaccessible due to restrictions on movement at this time) that would work perfectly too.

I have also simply snipped off the 'neck' and made it into a stretchy 'Alice band' to wear with this cool navy under-layer.

Tip 4

If your tops and bottoms are tired, transform your natural fibre garments with machine washable dyes to give them a new lease of life. Or why not experiment with natural dyes such as indigo for a completely individual result. This purple patterned silk shirt originally from Monsoon was black and white and I customised it with a grape colour wash using 'plum' by Dylon. Then I finished it with deep violet lace around the neck and black stretch lace around the sleeves and bottom edges.

Pink T shirt mended by A Howse

Pink T shirt mended by A Howse

Tip 5

Turn black marks into a feature. This pink top had a dark mark after I had been taking care of some car maintenance. I added a little purple lace off-cut and some white cotton wool thread. Then I embroidered a little flower embellishment to an otherwise plain top and this only took a few minutes. It doesn't matter if it is not perfectly executed as casual clothes like this look fine with a hand finished flourish that adds a bit of character.

Plum silk top after alterations by A Howse

Plum silk top after alterations by A Howse

Tip 6

The 'kimono' shaped blouse originally had a long bow tie on the front. The underarm seams were split in places from wear and tear so I used the now unattached ribbon trimming it into small rectangles and then neatly taking the patches in place with lavender thread to reinforce the fine shirt at the armholes. Happily I still have enough matching length left for a headband or hair tie.
 

Social distancing is here to stay and many people will have more time than usual due to their normal meetings and events being postponed. If there is time try a decorative running stitch or 'sashiko' or 'boro' which are Japanese embroidery techniques for fine sewing work that mends the fibres of broken and torn garments and in turn adds to their beauty by forming something unique. It could be just what you old ripped jeans are waiting for.

 

Monsoon fashion website, 24 April 2020 https://uk.monsoon.co.uk/uk/women

Dylon machine dye website, 24 April 2020 https://www.dylon.co.uk/en/home.html

'About Sashiko' Japan Crafts website, 24 April 2020 https://www.japancrafts.co.uk/sashiko.html

'Three Easy ways to Mend Fabric Inspire by japanese Textiles' by Jessica Marquez, 24 April 2020 https://www.designsponge.com/2015/05/three-easy-ways-to-mend-fabric-inspired-by-japanese-fabric.html

'The Great British Sewing Bee' BBC1 website https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03myqj2

 

How To Make A ‘Boho’ Day Bag Out of an Old Liberty Skirt

We hope you are all keeping well and you are finding a little time to stroll outdoors and enjoy the sunshine, every day if you can. Recently I have been making useful bags for going out on a walk and carrying a flask with a drink and some snacks and also for holding all the usual handbag items that might be needed.

The basic instructions of how to make a simple tote bag can be found here:

http://www.createdisplay.com/?p=2365

Handmade bag by A Howse

Handmade bag by A Howse

Alternatively last week I posted a tutorial about how to sew a relatively large tote using upcycled wool scarves. The blue spot tote is strong but it is not heavy to carry and it has space for some grocery shopping essentials.

http://www.createdisplay.com/?p=2394

Boho bag front

Boho bag front

This week I am demonstrating how you can repurpose an old vintage skirt to make a unique 'bohemian' inspired day bag. The pleated 'A' Line wool skirt was made by Liberty probably in the 1980's and I bought it second hand about 15 years ago. A few years ago I shortened the length to create a short flared skirt. Then I added a deep edging of black-watch wool tartan about two years ago. This alteration made it warmer for the winter and enabled the garment to coordinate with more of my wardrobe.

 

After many wears the quality fabric is still in great condition so I decided to transform it into a 'designer' accessory instead.

The first thing I did was to turn the skirt inside out and then cut two large petal shaped lining pieces the same length as my skirt. In this instance, I stitched two similar weight, offcut fabrics together to form my large rounded petal bag shape. So I have a fun bi-coloured lining!

Boho bag lining

Boho bag lining

I then lay the 'inside out' skirt flat on my workbench and added the lining pieces to the top and the bottom so that the skirt was in the 'middle of the sandwiched' fabric.

 

The next step was pinning and sewing the bottom edges of the skirt together with my sewing machine. I took care to stick to an imaginary line where I had pinned about 2cms inside of the petal shaped lining to leave a neat edge.

I cut away the excess fabric from the 'corners' or flat edges of the skirt that were not needed now the petal bag shape was emerging.

Turning the bag the right way round again, I pressed the inside lining pieces to make a straight top edge opening, for the botanically patterned carry-all. I then pressed the Liberty wool edges to match the lining fabric tops, so they all lined up neatly.

 

I chose a wide dark green zip from Hobbycraft to match the colours nicely. Hand-sewing the zip smartly in place at the top of the bag, I then used my sewing machine to firmly attach it in place.

Using some off-cut navy wool from my previous project, I crafted the handbag shoulder handles. To visually 'lift' the design and add more interest, I stitched the dark blue log lengths to some red and white woven braided ribbon 6 cms wide. This has given the bag straps a striking decorative detail.

To exaggerate the 'Boho' style of this bag I gathered both the bottom side corners of the bag using a thick dark thread. I securely stitched the gathers in place once the fabric was ruched just how I liked it.

Boho bag straps

Boho bag straps

To complete the original features of this naturally styled item, I added a deep pocket to the front of the bag, using left over wool pieces from this project so far. As this Liberty pattern is made of outlined dark florals and foliage, I chose to cut a leaf shape to add a central detail to the front of the pocket. I pressed the edges under all the way and hand sewed it in place like a little appliqué.

To balance the colours and pick out the details attractively, I added an easy straight stitch embroidery using a thick white cotton knitting ball I had to hand.

A Howse holds Boho bag to front

A Howse holds Boho bag to front

This practical product idea would also be suitable for a school or work satchel if you are (or are making for) a key worker or for a young person still attending school at the moment.

I hope that this article helps you to think about using this time to repurpose some of your existing clothes and old fabrics into something new and wonderful. Staying at home can save lives at the moment and we wish you good luck with all your home crafting.

We would love to know if you make an upcycled day bag by sending us a quick photo email or posting on our Facebook page, see our contact info page here:

http://www.createdisplay.com/?page_id=528

We hope you have many happy grocery shop outings and safe distance exercises!

We wish you all good health and hope your Spring season is as happy as can be.

 

Make A Big Tote Bag When Staying In, For Your Essential Trips Out

navy spot bag by A Howse

navy spot bag by A Howse

We hope you are all enjoying a sunny Friday now Spring is finally here. We also hope you are keeping positive and finding creative ways to spend more time at home now. We are all staying in to help the amazing National Health Service team up with our other security and emergency services and save lives, during this important time trying to slow the spread of Coronavirus. Read about some more ideas on how to stay at home successfully here:

https://www.hotenough.com/2020/03/25/coronavirus-12-tips-for-staying-home-successfully/

During this time at Create Display we would like to bring you useful and artistic articles and tutorials to provide some engaging solutions for activities to brighten up your days whether you are at home helping the NHS, or if you are at home in social isolation. Do contact us to let us know what you have cleverly crafted!

 

Our online shop is open and we plan to add some more original pieces to the collection soon.

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/CreateDisplay

back of navy spot bag

back of navy spot bag

This project can be made easily by one person in one session sewing. Why not involve other younger members of the family and show them some basic sewing techniques? This week I have made a new bag to hold all my essentials and shopping as we adapt to our new routine of only going out to exercise and buy groceries when we really need to. We are very lucky to live by the coast and have a garden and shops we can walk to nearby. So this bag has enough room to store key food items like break and milk. This simple tote has two front pockets for a small Thermos flask and my purse.

Taking your own favourite hot drink is now a 'must have' as unfortunately all the cafes are closed for the next few weeks at least. As we always have plenty of rain showers most months in the UK this bag has a wide zip top and is made of two layers of good quality wool. This means the bag is strong and durable and it can be washed on a wool wash which is hygienic and will keep it look an smelling fresh. A cool iron can be used too to hold the shape nicely.

AH navy spot bag with flasks

AH navy spot bag with flasks

This bag was made the same way that the previous tote bags were made in my last blog tutorial you can see here, I just made it 50% bigger:

http://www.createdisplay.com/?p=2365

To start I selected the fabric. I upcycled a navy wool scarf with pale pink spots that I had worn a lot and wanted to reinvent into something new and lovely. I found some heavy vintage navy wool in my fabric stash and used it for the bottom of the bag and the lining. The dark navy wool works well for the bottom section of the bag as it will not mark easily if the bag is put down on the ground at any point. I have also made the generously wide straps out of this strong plain blue material so they can hold lots of weight in case I buy anything heavy.

To keep the design looking cheerful and give it a white blossom inspired flourish, I have edged the front pockets and the straps by hand with a rows of shaped roses in slightly opaque polyester ribbon. The white stripes also help me be seen by other traffic if the daylight is dim down our country lanes.
AH nacy spot bag detail

AH navy spot bag detail

This spotty accessory is unique and if you do go to the supermarket you won't get mixed up with anyone else's trolley. I hope this post may motivate you to create your own unique item out of second hand supplies online (most shops are closed for a while) or fabrics, clothes and soft furnishings you already own.

I can recommend my local independent fabric shop The Eternal Maker where you can shop online and receive supplies in the post

.https://eternalmaker.com/

I purchased my matching zip from Hobbycraft
https://www.hobbycraft.co.uk/

Stay in, keep creative and be well, we're all in this together!

 

Sewing Simple Tote Bags for Handmade Presents

Personalised tote bag

Personalised tote bag

It is simple to sew some personalised tote bags for your friends and family. These eco-friendly presents are sure to please them at any time of the year. Ideal for keeping in the car and in the hallway for trips to the market or grocery shops, these shoulder bags are cute enough to take to town and hit the fashion and antique stores too. This man bag has hand embroidered initials so nobody else will ever pick it up by mistake and the textured emblem adds an individual touch to the design.
Tote bag base sew

Tote bag base sew

Step 1: Decide how big you would like your finished bag to be. Measure your base fabric with two times the height of your bag plus allowing 40mm extra fabric for hems all the way around the bag width and height. You can sew different fabrics together like a patchwork to make the base size you want and this can make the bag more striking. Add a bag lining by cutting a piece of fabric the same size and placing it beneath your main fabric.

Step 2: Cut a panel at least 100mm deep and the width of your bag plus 40mm for hem allowance. Press and sew the edges neatly and use the sewing machine to attach the panel onto your bag across the middle, to form an extra bag base layer.

making denim pocket tote bag

making denim pocket tote bag

Step 3: Select a contrasting fabric to make a front pocket which is 50mm less wide and high than your basic bag. This bag will have multiple pockets as it utilises a section from a pair of jeans which already has extra pockets. Fold and press the 20mm hem edges of the pocket inwards and sew around the pocket and onto the front of the main bag piece. Making sure to leave the top section open so you can access the pocket and check that it lines up with the front face of the bag correctly.

Adding straps to tote bag

Adding straps to tote bag

Step 4: Take a substantial weight fabric in a polyester or similar strong weave and cut two strips of fabric 50mm wide and double the height of your bag plus an extra 500mm to allow for the bag strap length. Using an iron press the hem edges of the strips inwards and then fold to give the desired strap width. Ensure the finished strap is at least 20mm wide to allow for easy stitching and make it comfortable on the shoulder to use.

Sew the straps on each long edge to form the neat long shapes. Using pins attach to the front of your bag on each side of the front pocket and check the strap length is appropriate for the height of the bag user. Turn the ends under neatly out of sight and sew onto place. Line up the remaining strap on the back of the bag to match the front strap position and sew in place.

SSewing tote bag sides together

Sewing tote bag sides together

Step 5: Fold the length of the bag in half 'inside out' so the bag lining is on show. Sew two lines of stitching close together along the side edges of the bag being careful not to catch the straps in your stitching lines. Turn the bag the right way around to see your finished bag.

Bag with clasps and ribbon

Bag with clasps and ribbon

Step 6: One optional extra feature is to add large clasps to your bag. Cut tiny slits in the fabric at the top middle of your back at least 50mm from the top edge. Insert the outer metal clasp prongs into the slits and use a small pair of pliers to bed the metal flat to secure the clasp. Repeat with the inner metal clasp on the other side of the bag and your bag will be able to be securely closed.

Vintage fabric tote bag

Vintage fabric tote bag

Making tote bags is a great way to upcycle up pretty vintage fabrics that would have previously been used for soft furnishings. Making patterned bags can also be a brilliant way to add interest to a plain outfit and even very bold and very young feminine patterns can be worn by all people of ages.

Strong checked fabric bag

Strong checked fabric bag

Selecting heavier fabrics will ensure you can carry heavy objects in your bag. Think about what the maximum thickness of fabric can be that your machine can sew happily once you have a lining and 'double folded layers' when you are sewing the sides together.

Plaid bag with floral brooch

Plaid bag with floral brooch

Another way to embellish your original product designs is to add handmade brooches and badges. Brooch backs and clasps are available at almost every haberdashery craft shop in the UK. This vintage fabric floral brooch pins this unique tote bag together stylishly.

Do send us photos of your handmade tote bags and enjoy giving these pretty little gifts, that don't take very long to create. Ditching plastic in favour of natural materials is good for the environment and these tote bags can be used for storing small items tidily around the home too .   Have a creative day!

 

Upcycle a Full Midi Length Silk Skirt into a Totally Unique Tunic Top

Silk top from left side

Silk top from left side

January is a great time of year to go through your wardrobe and have a good sort out.

Repairing, updating and altering your garments is better for the environment. 

Although it is tempting to hit the sales and stock up on more fast fashion, this uses the planets precious resources of water and energy during the retail production process.

Sometimes it can happen that we like an item of clothing in our wardrobe but we just don't wear it enough to justify the hanging space.

 

 

basic tunic shape

basic tunic shape

This can sometimes be because although the quality, colour and fabric of the dress (for example) is good,  the garment does not suit our favourite silhouette.

By this we mean the shape or outfit choice that we most select to wear, for example an 'A' line dress and short cardigan or skinny trousers and a loose top.

 

 

 

silk triangles for shwl collar

silk triangles for shwl collar

In this post we are transforming a full lined, midi length skirt with a zip waist into a loosely fitted tunic top with full sleeves and a wide 'roll neck' collar with a zip at the back.

Start by making sure your skirt is ironed and laid flat and smoothed out on your table and the fastening is at the centre of the fabric.

Skirt waist becomes new top collar

Skirt waist becomes new top collar

Make sure the back and front of your fabric is lying on top of eachother perfectly so that the bottom seams are matching correctly.

Select a top that fits you well already. Using it as a pattern, lay out the garment and pin around your favourite shirt to create the right shape for your new tunic. Leave plenty of length for full sleeves.

 

sewing new arm holes

sewing new arm holes

Cut around your pins making sure you leave 20 mm for hemming all the way around. Just leave the bottom hem as it will form the bottom of your new top.

See this previous tutorial blogpost for more details on how to do this:

http://www.createdisplay.com/?p=2308

Take the pieces you have left over and cut in two to create four triangular pieces.

 

 

 

 

flat cuff pieces

flat cuff pieces

Ironing a small hem around each piece lay the pieces around the inside the new collar of the tunic (what was the waist of the skirt) and sew in place either by hand or by machine whichever you think will look more attractive on the front of your new blouse.

If your original skirt has a lining, cut off the newly created arm sections so that just two large arm holes remain so the tunic will hang from the shoulders nicely without too much bulky fabric. Neatly press and hem the arm holes by machining all the way around.

ruched cuff ready to sew

ruched cuff ready to sew

Cut two strips of flat elastic approximately twice the width of your hand at its widest point so that you will be able to easily push your arm through the cuffs.

Lay the elastic pieces on top of two pieces of silk or similar weight fabric leaving 20 mm around the sides and top of the elastic strips. Sew the elastic onto the middle of the silk pieces and attach together at the ends so they make a loose circular shape.

 

 

both cuffs on silk shirt

both cuffs on silk shirt

Hand sew the elastic cuffs into place on each arm creating a flattering shape for your body type and leaving a comfortable hem on the bottom of each sleeve.

We made four 'rings' of sewing to attach the elasticated cuffs in toital so that the silk fabric layers lie comfortably flat and hang well once ironed.

 

Silk top looking at wall hanging

Silk top looking at wall hanging

Enjoy wearing your new tunic top and don't forget to add a belt if you want to dress up your look, show off your waist and add definition to your outfit.

Alternatively wear with skinny leggings or trousers or tuck into high waisted jeans.

For a more relaxed look for relaxing at home for example pair with wide leg trousers or a short skirt and tights if it is cool.

   
Silk top close up front

Silk top close up front

The pattern on this shirt is quite bold so it is a good idea to coordinate with plain pieces to keep the outfit elegant.

Let us know if you are inspired to upcycle any of your apparel this Spring.

We love to see your handmade projects so do contact us at our Create Display page on facebook or email a message and photo to:

admin@createdisplay.com

Have a creative day!

 

Happy New Year 2020!

Handmade Xmas Card

Handmade Xmas Card

Happy New Year! Wishing you a delightful 2020!

We hope you all had a great Christmas and so far the new decade has been wonderful.

I'm sure you have all had a busy festive season and its been a few weeks since I last posted onto the Create Display website.

This post will serve as an initial mini winter catch up with more crafty project updates in the pipeline!

Sussex sunrise

Sussex sunrise

Talking of the holidays, this year we made some handmade Christmas cards for those people we were meeting up with over the festive season.

The image on the cards was inspired by the sunrise view in winter in Chichester harbour in Sussex. The reindeer reminds us of the deer that can often be seen relaxing in or running across the fields.

red handmade Xmas card

red handmade Xmas card

To begin the little project we put carols on the studio radio and then selected a carved wooden decorative block that was already in our Christmas craft box. I liked the round shape of the block, that was initially sourced locally.

Metallic acrylic paints from Hobbycraft were painted over the block and pressed onto the printed image that was created using an HP Laser Jet Pro (MFP M477fnw) and standard white A4 paper.

A white fine liner pen from Paperchase was then used to detail the text and outline the reindeer.

 

Multicoloured  Xmas cards

Multicoloured Xmas cards

The cards were then cut around the letters, with a sharp craft knife from Hobbycraft, to form an unusual shape that 'popped' out when the card was opened.

Old glitter from our Christmas craft supplies was then sprinkled onto pva glue dots that were applied with the end of a thin paintbrush to finish the jolly paper tokens with a bit of magical sparkle.

I like to collect and use rubber stamps for the inside of my cards with appropriate messages for the season and treat myself to a metallic pen for embellishment. The January sales is a good time to buy these materials ready for the end of next year.

 

More winter craft projects to follow on my next post soon…

Have a super creative day!

https://www.hobbycraft.co.uk/ Extra craft supplies from Hobbycraft
https://www.paperchase.com/en_gb/ Fine white and metallic writing pens from Paperchase