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The Truth About Bullet Journals…

February 13, 2019
Picture of my bullet journal closed, surrounded by stickers and kikki k coloured pens.

Have you ever looked at bullet journals and dismissed them as they looked too complex? The beautiful designs of each bullet journal page painstakingly drawn to depict each topic. Neat handwriting and intense colour coding. Having learnt, made and used a bullet journal for over a year here are the four things I know will encourage you to have one.

I’ve always admired bullet journals and anyone who has one. Those that have them have always produced theirs willingly. Showing off their beautiful handwriting and organisational skills. I saw a session at my local West Elm run by Ghenet and Kikki K and thought I would give it a go. We had a fantastic time and Ghenet gave us all her tips to head home and make our own bullet journals.

Picture of my bullet journal open,  showing a list of monthly chores.  Surrounded by stickers and kikki k coloured pens.

It is a list keeper not a journal.

Getting my head around making a bullet journal made more sense when Ghenet explained it was for list making. The word journal was throwing me off and this made a lot more sense. I love a list and putting them all in one place is freeing. So much better than all the bits of paper I used to carry around!

Picture of my bullet journal open,  showing my calendar of activities.  Surrounded by stickers and kikki k coloured pens.

It doesn’t have to be a big notebook.

Ghenet had small A6 booklets for us to create our bullet journals in. As we worked on them I felt I would want something a bit bigger as all my lists were running over multiple pages! Heading to Kikki K I purchased a notebook with grid lines but when I got home I felt it was too much to add to my handbag. Despondent I flicked through the pages and realised I could pull apart the notebook and create a book the perfect size for me. 32 pages were covered in navy cardboard I had laying around and thread tied it all together.

Picture of my bullet journal practise pages where I have tried different heading fonts and drawings.

Practise the headings and drawings first.

Practice makes perfect and I’ve never nailed one of the drawn headings the first time. Instead I have used some spare pages to practice my drawing. There are plenty of examples of pages online and with some patience you can replicated any you like. I’ve made a whole pinterest board here to get you on your way!

Picture of my bullet journal open,  showing my blank calendar ready to fill up with events.  Surrounded by stickers and kikki k coloured pens.

It’s going to get messy.

Once I had laid out my pages and started using the bullet journal it took a while to develop a system. For my calendar I wanted to implement colour coding distinguishing appointments from fun friend catch ups. The first couple of months navigating this saw a lot of mess on the page! I quickly realised that regular gym sessions didn’t require noting as the times and days didn’t change. I also reduced my five colour key to two, making my life a lot easier and the page a thousand times neater. Once I got in the swing of things the pages became significantly tidier and ready to show off to others!

I’d love to see your bullet journals. Send me a picture or tag me on Instagram. PF xo

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Making

My Families Banana Bread Loaf Recipe…

February 4, 2019
Banana bread loaf sliced on a chopping board.  A bowl of creme fraiche cheese and another of honey infused walnuts next to it.

Banana bread loaf, it is one of my favourite recipes and I used to make it all the time pre wheat intolerances. The perfect solution to using up browning bananas and in my experiance this doesn’t last long in the office! Over Christmas my friend Lauren visited Australia and commented that Aussies make the best banana bread. It’s true!

Today I am sharing with you my family recipe which I have perfected over 10 years including halving the amount of sugar! The recipe uses a food processor/blender to smash all the bananas together and then you just add from there. Don’t have a blender? No worries. Take advantage of your soft bananas and use a fork to squash them. Great for getting anger out!

If you want to jazz up your banana bread loaf serve it with creme fraiche cheese and honey. I love infusing walnuts with honey and drizzling this on each slice. So delicious!

Picture of all the ingrediants to make the banana bread loaf

What you will need…

  • Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius fan-forced. If you don’t have a fan-forced oven, preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  • Choose your pan. Traditionally banana bread is a loaf tin but if you prefer a cake shape go for it. I’ve also made little snack size versions and adjusted the baking time. There are no rules!
  • 2-3 large, over ripe bananas
  • 100g butter, softened (if using unsalted butter, add 1/4 teaspoon salt with the flour)
  • 1 cup of sugar (yes this is half the original recipe!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (1 teaspoon natural vanilla essence)
  • 2 large eggs (we use eggs with a minimum weight of 59g)
  • 100ml (1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon) buttermilk. Buttermilk can be expensive and does go off quickly. Use normal milk or freeze portions of butter milk for a more cost effective banana bread.
  • 1 and a 1/2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Making your banana bread…

  • Place butter, sugar, banana, vanilla and eggs in a food processor.
  • Process for about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of processor. Add buttermilk and pulse to combine.
  • Sift flour, salt (if using) and bicarbonate of soda together into a large bowl. Add flour mixture to food processor and process until just combined.
  • Pour batter into prepared tin.
  • Bake for about 50-60 minutes, or until a skewer or knife inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Picture of banana bread in the oven booking.

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Making

Marie Claire & FujiFilm Photography Workshop…

January 28, 2019
Marie Claire FujiFilm Course Pretentious Fringe

At the end of last year I was going through Instagram Stories and one popped up with a photography workshop for anyone with a Fujifilm camera.  I nearly fell over as these workshops are quite common for other camera brands and I’ve always been quite envious.  Immediately I was punching in my card details to secure a spot.  The event was cobranded with Marie Claire magazine and the day was to be built around fashion shoots with a real model.  Fab!

Turning up at Shoreditch Studios felt like walking into a magazine shoot!  Something I had done before in my advertising role and I immediately felt at home.  A tasty breakfast spread was before us, I was offered a tea and sitting down I met photographer Jamie Stoker who was our guide for the day.  A small group of eight we were given some refresher pointers on shooting manually and then we were handed a Fujifilm XT100 to use.

Update your camera software!

I’d brought my X-T2 and learnt from the Fuji experts that there are regular software updates for their cameras.  This was new news to me and handing over my kit, within minutes, mine was updated!  All the frustrations I had had in the past year with settings and making changes disappeared.

The camera itself ran faster and the menus were easier to navigate. I was able to sync my camera to the phone app and also use the phone as a remote.  So handy when I want to add images to social media and also taking photos of myself!

How the workshop ran.

Throughout the day we worked with model Alex who knew all her angles and loved to play up to the camera for us!  Three areas were set up to shoot Alex, jewellery or homewares.  We got to use professional lighting and it was interesting to see how this change the photo depending on the angle.  I also loved having fun in the black and white mode creating some dreamy mood shots.

After a lunch from Shoreditch Studio, so many delicious vegan options, we bundled ourselves in our coats and headed to the streets.  Taking care not to end up under a car we did quite a bit of street photography with Alex!  Honestly I don’t know how paparazzi’s get their shots as it can be so tricky and now I understand how they can get such awful photos of celebs.

It’s all about timing the shutter and knowing angles.  Often I would capture Alex mid way through blinking which gave her a look of a stoner!  But then sometimes a magic shot would come through.  We used continuous shot settings for this which meant our cameras would autofocus on Alex and we just had to worry about framing our image.

What I learnt.

  • I realised I knew a lot about photography and when you have someone who knows their angles and timings magic can happen! 
  • Always see if you can update you software on your camera as it will run so much faster. 
  • Take a million shots and there will be some gems.  That’s the advantage of digital and if in doubt switch you camera to continuous shot.  Fill up your SD card!

Marie Claire and Fujifilm are planning on running a second event in February 2019 with a beauty product focus.  I’m already on the list and can’t wait to ask more questions about lenses!  PF xo

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Making

Making at Home with Paper Christmas by Emily Dawe…

November 28, 2018

Every year, my sister and I purchase a themed set of decorations to wrap our Christmas presents.  We are known in our family for really stepping up the wrapping game!  Last year we had glitter star stickers, with a beautiful pink ribbon, set against gleaming metallic silver paper.  This year we have more time to create our decorations and Emily Dawe’s Paper Christmas book is the perfect inspiration.  Full of step by step instructions, there are templates at the back which means easy making.  Emily has put together 16 projects to make your own labels, bunting, Christmas trees and advent calendars.  The best bit is that you can use these ideas all year round.

When I was growing up we always had a craft area in the house.  Sometimes it was just a section of a bookshelf and later an entire room!  Having craft bits and pieces on hand is so normal for me that I have a three tier Ikea trolley full in my current flat.  It contains wood spoon blanks for carving, acrylic and water colour paints and my entire candle making collection.  So.many.essential.oils!  It is not unusual for me to spend hours on a craft activity, lost in the mindfulness and happiness of creating.

I used black and white stock card, self adhesive glitter papers, fancy Christmas twine and my favourite purchase, eco glitter!  Emily has suggested colour ways in the book but feel free to go with your creation.  It is straight forward following the instructions provided, as every step has a picture showing you what to do.  This is my kind of crafting.  It takes the work out of understanding someone’s instructions when there are pictures!  The crafting then becomes family friendly as children can make alongside you.

Watch my timelapse video on instagram where I make the beautiful feathers.

I’ve often seen templates that require a size increase but I hadn’t done that before.  Turns out it is quite easy to find the enlarge function on a photo copier!  I recommend copying each page twice.  Just in case you make a mistake cutting, or if you have a big group working on your decorating project no fighting over templates!

I loved making the feather labels and they were so easy to cut out.  They would make a great family project with little ones.  Feathers don’t have to have perfect sides!  I arranged the five feather templates on the A5 black card and was able to put them in a way that minimised any waste.  The bunting is really cute and instead of hanging it up I used it to wrap the presents.  If you had a few helpers, creating strings and strings of bunting would look stunning around your tree.  A lovely alternative to tinsel, adding a handmade element to your festive décor.

Emily is such a lovely human being and you all know I enjoy supporting small business entrepreneurs.  We recently caught up and I asked her three questions about Paper Christmas…

_________________________________________________________

Jessica – What did you enjoy the most about the book making process? 

Emily – I know that sounds like a cop out, but I loved the whole process!  From the very beginning, I loved researching different projects, trends, and styles.  Then the making process, which always takes much longer than you think, as there’s a lot of trial and error, but getting to the finished result is always so rewarding!  Then I was in my element photographing the book, as a stylist who absolutely loves Christmas, I really enjoyed creating little festive scenarios and flat lays, using my own hands where possible and using my friend Emmeline as my model!

Jessica – That’s sounds so fun, I’d love to be a hand model!  Did you approach the publisher or vice versa? 

Emily – It was a case of being in the right place at the right time!  I was working at Woman’s Weekly at the time, as the Home & Craft Editor, we were working with Roz and Judy from The Woolly Felters on a feature for the magazine about how to needlefelt.  Amazing and magical process if you haven’t tried it!  During our lunch, we got onto chatting about my hopes and goals for the future, one of which was to have a craftbook published.  Roz then announced she was one of the Commissioning Editors at Search Press books, and asked me to chat through my ideas!  She then pitched my idea with a few prototypes, and it was given a big thumbs up!  That was June 2016, so it’s not been a speedy process!

Jessica – Wow I didn’t realise it would take so long.  Patience testing!  What do you hope people get from the book and crafting? 

Emily – I knew I wanted a diverse combination of projects in the book, which would appeal to an array of people, the styles they have in their home, and their skill level.  So if your thing is Scandi minimalism then my folded book angels or white feather garland would suit you.  Likewise, if you want something to make with the kids, my mini bunting, gift tags, party hats or even marbled wrapping paper would be ideal, made using shaving foam!  I chose to make the paper wreath from traditional colours, but I hope people just see this as a starting point and adapt the design to suit their decor – white and gold, or neon pink for example.

In a nutshell, I just wanted to create a fun, contemporary, on-trendcrafting book that would appeal to lots of people, no matter their style, skill level or how much time they have.  Crafting is such a simple pleasure, a time to be mindful, get back to basics with glue and glitter – it’s so nostalgic!  Technology has changed the way we communicate, some people rarely pick up a pen these days, which is so sad.  So it’s really special to actually do something creative withyour hands, forcing you to put your phones away and enjoy some well earned’you time’….saying that, I will forgive you if you want to take a picture of the end result or a crafty flat lay though…oh, and if you want to post it on social media, please tag me @editbyemily and use the hashtag #paperchristmas….it’s good to share, and I’d love more people to hear about my first book!

Jessica – Thank you so much!  I know I enjoyed making everything with some Smooth FM on in the background and a hot chocolate.  I was so relaxed afterwards!

_________________________________________________________

Happy Crafting lovelies!  For more information about Emily’s book, her creative workshops and sign up to her mailing list head to her website.  You can find her on instagram here.  Emily is also going to be on Kristie’s Handmade Christmas, lucky duck!  Remember whilst the book is Christmas themed, lots of the templates can be used throughout the year!  PF xo

Emily and Search Press kindly gifted me Paper Christmas but I was under no obligation to post and all words are my own.

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Making

London’s Best Christmas Makers Craft Markets…

November 21, 2018

I love a Makers Market where modern crafts of woven hangings, fine jewellery and hand poured candles reside.  It’s time to give back this year and purchase from our friends who toil each year making beautiful works of art.  Here is my selection of London markets recommended not only for the wares on sale but for the added entertainment provided.  Even if you don’t want to purchase anything these markets make great destinations for friend catch ups and date night antics!

Enjoy!  PF xo

Crafty Fox Market. This monthly modern craft market ramps up over the Christmas season with multiple locations across London.  I recommend attending the Brixton market so you can enjoy a drink inside without the impact of the weather.  A DJ will be playing tunes and different craft traders every day.  Make it your local base and gets friends to come visit you there everyday!

Columbia Road Market. Celebrating Christmas every Wednesday leading up to the big day the independent traders of Columbia Road will stay open late.  Sip on hot chocolate and fresh pastries from Cake Hole and purchase vintage homewares from my favourite store Vintage Heaven.  Margaret set up the store when her two garages and house overflowed with vintage china!

Urban Makers. Housed in Old Spitalfields markets over the Christmas period, Urban Makers is brining together the finest talent from East London.  Founded by makers for makers, you will be able to find scented candles, face clays to help combat the party season and local crafted jewellery.  Not sure if you can make it down to the market?  Urban Makers has recently launched their online marketplace here.

Renegade Craft Fair. A US craft fair that ventures across the pond, Renegade will be in London at the Old Truman Brewery mid December.  Designed as a day out, there are DJ’s, food trucks and cocktails, perfect for a shopping date!  Not only will they have markers selling their wares there will also be plenty of workshops for you to hand make presents for your loved ones.

Turning Earth and The Kiln Rooms. Wanting to purchase a special ceramic piece?  Both these markets are operating late November giving you plenty of time to seek out the perfect item.  Both studios are shared membership spaces encouraging their potters to produce one off pieces for the Christmas season.  I am biased and would encourage you to come south to The Kiln Rooms and then venture to Peckham Levels for a spot of indoor mini golf, food and drinks on top of carpark!

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Making

Ideas to Buy Small This Christmas…

November 14, 2018

Everyone, including myself, is getting a bit tired of huge department stores and their offerings for Christmas.  It just isn’t sitting well hearing stories of stolen copyright of the small guys to fund million pound Christmas advertisements.  The thing is shopping with small business does require a little planning, as they are more likely to go out of stock or need extra time to send items.  To help you out I put together this list of people I have met this year and their gorgeous items that they sell.

Support local business and shop small.  You’ll feel good for supporting all these makers.

Happy shopping, PF xo

I’ve included my own pottery in the mix here.  This makes this post an advertisement.  My goal is to sell enough plates to be able to buy more pottery studio time.  I like to create and as a hobby these things aren’t cheap!  Plus I can’t store all the pots and plates in my house indefinitely!!

1. The Joy of Watercolour by Emma Block.  My friend Emma has been drawing with watercolours for years and doing workshops for this and brush lettering.  I first met her when she did a portrait of me at an event and then again this year when she did a picnic for creatives with Zeena.  Wanting to share her love of water colouring with more people Emma developed this book and approached a publisher.  The Joy of Watercolour takes you through step by step from basic techniques to more complex pictures.  Everyone I have seen use the book has been able to recreate the images quickly and notes how much fun they had.  Buy the book here from Emma.  You could go to Amazon, heck I could throw in my affiliate link, but this post is all about supporting the small business so buy direct so Emma makes a well-deserved profit!

2. Lauren Ashton Designs.  A keen knitter who studied knitwear Lauren has developed a business that creates super chunky designs and those fabulous chunky blankets.  Her range includes patterns and kits to make your own at home.  A perfect gift for someone to tackle during that Christmas and New Year hiatus!  Not sure if your gift receiver is into making?  No problems Lauren has you covered with pre made items that her knitters work up in 4-6 weeks.

3. Petalon Flowers. Started by Florence, who wanted to distribute flowers by bike, she recently was able to expand and offer her bouquets nationwide.  Each week two bouquets are offered based on what is seasonal and at the markets.  Select your bunch and send to a loved one.  You can order ahead and have flowers for the Christmas holiday period.  Florence also offers workshops for making bunches and comprehensive all day courses for those wanting to move into the floristry industry.

4. Grain and Knot.  I have been fortunate to attend workshops with Sophie who carves spoons and butter knives from reclaimed timbers.  Based in London her work can be bought online and at various markets.  Not sure if your loved one would like a spoon?  Gift them a voucher for a workshop with Sophie in 2019.  Trust me, they will get the bug and be buying spoon blanks from Grain and Knot to carve at home in no time!

5. Print Club.  This year I went to Print Club’s Blisters Exhibition and saw so many beautiful screen printing works. Lots of these can be found online and are only £50.  Working together as a collectible the artists buy time from the studio to print their works.  Based in London all the prints can be sent to you in time for Christmas.  You could also buy gift vouchers if you aren’t sure what to pick or purchase a workshop for your loved one.  This is my favourite one, Frozen Planet by Charlie Blanchard.

6. These Two Hands.  Run by my friend Naomi, this small business is a curated collection of nature inspired products.  Everything is made by British crafters and creators with hand printed tea towels, woven throws and leaf print coasters.  Often at markets around the Bristol area Naomi also operates her online store.  The most darling item sold are the baby moccasins that have local sheepskin to line them.

7. Farmers by Welsh Lavender Farm.  I stumbled on this product whilst attending The Good Life festival a couple of years ago and it’s my go to Foot Cream.  Deliciously thick with a gorgeous lavender scent everyone wants some when I bring it out.  I do not share! I’ve gifted it to family and friends and the hand cream is a perfect size for the handbag.  Next year I hope to go to the farm and run amongst the lavender fields when they are in bloom!

8. Gatha Betty Joy.  AD. My own ceramics brand where I slowly make bowls, weird vases and plates.  I’ve been making ceramics for two years now and it is one of the hardest things I have put my mind to.  Shaping clay, testing glazes and hoping that it makes it out in one piece are all things I am learning!  The pots are wonky and the plates have misshaped edges but everyone likes them that way.  Check out the Instagram and buy straight off the image you like.

9. Oliver Rose.  I met Charlotte at a creative conference this year and loved her small business of dollhouse furniture.  Her selection is contemporary modern which I love, and there are collaborations with well-known brands including Buddy & Bear.  Having just done a relaunch and sold out of most things, the store is being restocked.  Follow her on Instagram and be ready to pounce when items are back on sale.

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Buying Small This Christmas