Handmade Gift Guide: Bumble & Moss

This year as part of my Christmas gift guides I really want to pop an emphasis on the small businesses that I love and support. This week I’m kicking things off with a shop I have a huge amount of adoration for- Bumble & Moss (who I featured earlier in the year too). I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Tina, the brains behind it all twice now at a local craft market and I can never resist a purchase from her stall!

Specialising in botanical style jewellery worthy of a fairytale (with a dash of Poldark inspiration thrown in for good measure) Tina’s pieces make for the most wonderful gifts. I’ve popped together a little collage featuring some of my favourites but please do check out her Etsy shop to see the full scale of what she can do.

If you live in the North Somerset area as I do then also make sure to check out the Bumble & Moss facebook page as there are lots of local markets and events happening in the run up to Christmas. I shall be popping along to the next HAVE market to see what’s new from Tina- keep an eye on my instagram for a look on the 20th November!

Don’t worry if you’re not based in the UK by the way as you can have your items shipped internationally- there are a few botanical pieces winging their way to America as I type.


Going round in Querkles

Move over colouring books there’s a new adult activity book in town! Querkles launched last year in Australia/New Zealand and have just landed on UK shores too. Exclusive to WH Smith stores (and online) I was kindly sent over the book to find out what all of the fuss is about!
I’ll readily admit I got a little bit obsessed with colouring books and our bookcase has quite the collection gracing it’s shelves. Querkles is a step up from your average colouring book though as each image is made up of numbered, overlapping circles which you fill in either with a selection of solid colours or one colour but different textures to reveal a famous face at the end.

Now this is time consuming, I’m actually yet to finish one but I’ve been enjoying taking twenty minutes out of my day here and there to work on the picture and it’s fascinating seeing a portrait come to life. Each image can be removed from the book via perforated pages so you can frame and display your finished masterpieces too.

I was also sent the 1000 dot-to-do book (also exclusive to WH Smith stores) by Quirkles creator Thomas Pavitte. This was actually his original creation and again features iconic portraits in huge dot-to-dot form. I loved doing dot-to-dots as a child and this was a real blast of nostalgia. It’s also much faster progress to the Quirkles with each design taking around 30 minutes.

I’m not sure either of these books could take the place of colouring books, not for me personally at least as they offer something truly unique. At £9.99 they are a novel way to express creativity and I’ve found myself using them if I’m having a bad day with a racing mind to distract and unwind.

If you’re the creative type or are also in need of distraction then I highly recommend these for a new dimension in the colouring world. Time to get hot-footing it down to your nearest WH Smiths…

Have you jumped on to the colouring bandwagon? What else do you do to calm down a busy/stressed out mind?


Getting my Craft On

I used to be a really crafty person. Every gift and card I gave was handmade and I’d never say no to trying anything. These days I lack the time and motivation to put as much in to arts and crafts but it’s something I will always enjoy and when Sykes Cottages got in touch to let me know about a new campaign they were working on I was eager to get involved.

“At Sykes Cottages we understand that everyone goes on holiday for different reasons. Some people like to go exploring, some like to relax and unwind whilst some like to take the chance to learn a skill or try their hand at something new. Bearing this in mind, we recently worked alongside six very talented craft bloggers to create Simple Crafts: A Guide for Beginners.
Simple Crafts: A Guide for Beginners is an illustrated graphic guide featuring six simple craft tutorials that are easy to make, inexpensive and use little specialist equipment.”

Sykes sent along a really generous package packed full of everything I’d need to try out some of the crafts from the guide as well as some lovely teas and snacks to fuel the creativity. I was especially interested in the jewellery making element so I decided to try out the Spiral Earrings tutorial and also made a charm bracelet from a button craft kit.
I’ve always found working with wire tricky when it comes to jewellery and after many frustrated attempts at getting the perfect spiral (my hand-eye coordination is terrible) I decided to freestyle it and made some very un-spiralled earrings that I still love. This isn’t a fault against the guide though, it’s just me! The instructions are clear and easy to follow and as someone who has done a lot of beadwork in the past I’d say it’s suitable for everyone from complete beginner to prolific beader.

The bracelet was really satisfying to make as this is what I used to do most of when I had the time and patience. I spent a happy couple of hours working on this over the bank holiday weekend and managed to really chill out and escape the stresses of life for a while.

With that, I’ve been reminded just how relaxing creating something new is so I really am going to make more time to do what I love and learn some new skills. Next on my list is candle making with the kit pictured above, I’ll let you know how that turns out!

What are your favourite ways to relax and unwind?


A make for Mae and Giveaway with HobbyCraft

I envy those who can sew, really I do. I struggle to make even the most basic of stitches look neat and I actually got banned from using the machines during year 9 textiles lessons due to my track record of breaking them. Still, I wasn’t going to let that put me off when Hobbycraft got in touch and offered to send me a mini sewing machine to make something to show on the blog with, especially as with that challenge came a second machine to give away to one of my readers!
My Mum is super handy on a sewing machine so I picked her brains for ideas. We settled for making a simple heart template, which we (and by this I mean she) stitched most of the way around before I stuffed it with an old pair of tights and some catnip. The gap was hand stitched closed and Mae was presented with her brand new toy.

I know, I could have made something for myself- a skirt or a little purse perhaps, but being the cat lady that I am I couldn’t resisting making something for my mad moggy first. Watching Mum doing the sewing made me realise that actually, it’s not as hard as I once thought and I have dedicated myself to learning to make some simple things (I am somewhat calmer these days and better at focusing after all) which I will be sure to show on the blog. In the mean time, here are some photos of our exploits and your chance to win below.

(If you have any ideas of things I could make then do feel free to leave them below- being a mini machine I know options are limited but this is so easy to set up and use so it’s perfect for a beginner like me, or for any one who wants to make little gifts without setting up a big machine).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway open to UK residents only, good luck!


What Katie Drew

So, by now you’ve all seen my new header, right? It was created by the wonderful Katie who In her own words says:
“I’m an illustrator & designer based in NE England.  I was born in Edinburgh and studied animation before choosing to focus on illustration. I’m currently in my third and final year of Illustration & Design at Sunderland University and i’m looking forward to graduating and getting out into the big wide world”

Her work includes these stunning animal creations, including the cutest kitty pet portrait (when we get a new cat, I’m totally commissioning her)

Katie’s talents don’t stop there though…she created these gorgeous pictures for my blog as well as my new header, which I challenged her to do with very vague ideas of what I actually wanted!

This sketch is by Katie’s equally talented friend, Jamie.

Fancy some artwork of your own? Katie has an etsy shop; although currently it is fairly empty, this is going to change, soon!

You can also drop her an e-mail on katiedraws.hello(at)gmail.com with specific requests…she’s really very friendly so don’t be shy!

What do you think? I’ve never been drawn before so it was surreal to see myself in a 2D form. A massive thank you to Katie; I promise not to pester you too much!


((if you have a talent you’d like to see up on the blog, drop me an e-mail- adaisychaindream(at)googlemail.com))