so that was may...

From top left...
*This month Wagamama waved good bye to my favourite dish ‘Amai Udon’. I’m still wondering what they were thinking, but the sad news undoubtably call for a visit to enjoy my 'usual' one last time. I'd forgotten how much I love their menus! There I was dreaming of how lovely it would look on a notebook.
*Lots of time spent finishing design details for my friends wedding. I've been getting confetti happy although my carpet is not so happy.
*Daughter’s new album has definitely been the sound track to my May. Give it a listen.
*I love the fact May brings us two bank holidays and even better that both were sunny this year. So sunny that it merited our first picnic of the year.
*I found a few moments to whip my pencil out in a few spare moments. The results to come.
*Flowers and blossoms, everywhere I look! Yay for Summer colour!

diy embellished necklaces

This first necklace could really be easier! I've wanted a statement necklace like this for a while and thought why not just make it? Here's what you'll need...

You'll also need a cheap chain of some description. I have many old necklaces that I never really wear anymore so I simply cut those up for these projects but they are also easily bought on Ebay. You also find some very cheap necklaces in trusty, old Primark. The box chain I used was actually part of a necklace I bought from there for £2 (woohoo, bargain!). You'll also need some black sturdy black backing that won't fray. I found something that seems like a cross between foam and felt at my local fabric shop but I have no clue what it's called! You could look for something similar or just use black felt for the top layer and black foam for the bottom. This will be the base for all your embellishments. You'll need to cut this out to match the template which can be found here.
  1. Once you have your base, cut two lines of the box chain and a line of the crystal string to fit on top and carefully glue them down.
  2. Then using your scalpel, poke holes all along the base, between the crystal string and the bottom box chain. 
  3. Feed the suede cord through the holes to weave throughout the whole necklace, making sure you glue down the ends.
  4. Cut another piece of your base material using the above template again and stick this over the top to hide all the nasty bits.
  5. Use two metal rings (slightly wider than your chain) to attach at either end of the top box chain and use these to attach the rest of your chain, which can be cut to size as you like.  
Here's another necklace for you to try your hand at. It may be a little more fiddly than the last one but it's equally straightforward. You'll need the following...

Once again you'll also need a cheap chain and base material for all your embellishments to stick on. You'll need to cut this out to match the template which can be found here.
  1. Firstly make holes in each corner of the black base using the punch and add rivets (following packet instructions).
  2. Then start sticking on the embellishments. Start with the larger gems/studs and work your way down in size, painting the back of each one with your strong glue. The 4mm round black gems can be used to fill in the gaps. Hold each one down with your finger or a scalpel for a few seconds to make sure it adheres. Follow the pattern pictured above.
  3. The studs won't need glue as you can punch the clasps through and fold them over at the back to secure.
  4. Cut another black base using the template shape but cut each corner off to ensure that the rivet holes aren't covered. Stick to the back to cover the nasty bits.
  5. Use two metal rings (slightly wider than your chain) to attach at either end of the top box chain and use these to attach the rest of your chain, which can be cut to size as you like.

for your scribbles

I continue to get over excited about stationery. Look at these beauties from Arminho. So simple and smart but softened by the lovely textured, recycled board. Such a striking colour palette to top it off. I never realised I enjoyed rusts and teals this much!

blonde is best

Controversial as it may be, I would always choose a blondie over a brownie. The only exception being when peanut butter is involved...naturally. Here’s a very yummy recipe I tried out recently. The blueberries add moisture and I really liked that you could taste the nuttiness of the ground almonds. So here's the recipe for you to try and some photos to make you salivate. 

To make the blondies...
85g cup all-purpose flour
65g cup finely ground almonds
1/2 teaspoon salt
120g unsalted butter110g (4 ounces) premium quality white chocolate plus 100g for drizzling
150g caster sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
150g dried or fresh blueberries
  1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees. Line 9 x 9-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk flour, ground almonds and salt together.
  3. Melt the butter and the 110g white chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of lightly simmering water. Stir frequently
  4. Add the sugar and whisk to combine, then take the bowl off the heat. Stir in the vanilla, then add the eggs one at a time, mixing well.
  5. Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the batter and fold them in until completely incorporated and smooth batter has formed. Add berries and fold in gently. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
  6. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the centre of the cake come out clean. Allow the blondies to cool to room temperature before removing from the pan.
  7. Meanwhile melt the rest of the white chocolate as you did before and then drizzle over the blondies with a knife. Then they can be cut into slices.
To make the blueberry coulis...
50g blueberries
2 tbsp caster sugar
squeeze of lemon juice
  1. Mash the blueberries.
  2. Simmer on a low heat with the sugar and lemon juice until it thickens.
  3. Sieve into a container.
  4. Serve blondies with a dash of coulis, a scattering of blueberries and a sprinkling of icing sugar.

Pick Me Up

Happy weekend! I thought I'd post a few sneaky photos from my trip to Pick Me Up. Be inspired by these cute and colourful visual treats. It made me aware that there hasn't been enough typography doodle time in my life recently. I'll try and get that sorted.

diy heart print bag

Tote bags are undoubtably very useful but I don't think there's any excuse for them not to look nice whilst doing their job. Here's a simple idea to give a plain canvas tote some life. Personally I think everything you need can be bought most reasonably from Ebay. All you need is....

  • a plain canvas tote bag (or you could make one very simply)
  • a speedball carving kit and a scalpel
  • pencil
  • all purpose glue
  • a square of cardboard and a A4 sheet of card
  • black fabric paint
  • 1 square of gold leaf
  • matte Mod Podge and a small paint brush

  1. Cut a square of the rubber from your kit and draw a heart shape in pencil. Carve chunks of the rubber away to leave the heart shaped raised. Using your all purpose glue, stick the rubber stamp to your card board as a backing.
  2. Put your card sheet inside the bag to prevent the ink seeping through.You can mark out where you want your hearts to go with a pencil or just freestyle. I painted the fabric paint onto the stamp because I like the textured affect you get when it prints. Once covered press down firmly and remove. Repeat all over, leaving a gap for your foiled heart.
  3. Once the black hearts are dry you can mark out the outline for the foiled heart. I actually stamped a heart with gold fabric paint to make the shape consistent. Then cover the area with Mod Podge using a delicate brush and gently put the foil over the top, lightly pressing down (do not rub). Leave to dry and pull off the edges. If edges need neatening up, use a little more glue and the spare foil. Cover with two layers of Mod Podge, allowing to dry in between.
  4. Once everything has dried you can iron the bag flat, avoiding the foiled heart and then you're ready to use your creation.

so that was april....

From top right...
* A case of misplaced eagerness perhaps? The day before it had been snowing for most of the day!
* My friend introduced me to Gail's Bakery last month and I felt it very necessary to drag Nick along to experience the yum factor too.
* So you may have noticed I love old fashioned signs. I found this one at Borough Market.
* Spring finally arrived, much to every one's relief.
* After years of attempting to go to 'Pick Me Up' graphics art exhibition at Somerset House, I finally made it. I'd recommend it to any interested in graphics or illustration.
* On April 9th, Nick and I had been together for 3 years. I was totally oblivious to this fact (oops) but swiftly realised when I came home to roses, cute!
* Pizza making with the boy, courtesy of our underused breadmaker. Try fig, goats cheese, prosciutto and caramelised onions. You won't regret it!
*This month I've really enjoyed going through the book of Ruth at Trinity West and was happy to have another chance to do some artwork for TW. Have a listen here.