interview: when Elias met Christine

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I have a friend. Elias is his name and socialnesting.com is his game blog. Whenever we get together a mutual love/craft in happens and we coo over each others latest projects and ideas. He popped over at the weekend for lunch and a gossip (bringing a delicious plum and almond pudding – ignore his opinion of it on his blog post here as it was truely yummy).

Here is an excerpt from our chat …

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With her fourth solo book (seventh when you add three collabs), a busy career as fashion-bible designer and a house in transition towards craft wonderland, Christine Leech takes time to talk to Social Nesting about getting fresh, her favourite kit and channeling Snow White, South-London style…

Hi Christine. How are you?
I’m well, thank you. I’m trying to impress you with the one and only posh salad I can make but failing miserably as I don’t know how to make this salad dressing.

Forget dressing. You are not allowed to be good at everything.
Now, did you ever dream that you would be the reason that people are getting busy with their hands? Not in a rude way, of course, but with glue and scissors and ink…
Not at all! It’s so lovely that I have been able to share my ideas with people. If I wasn’t writing my books I would be making all these things anyway. It just so nice that they are getting a wider audience and I have a greater reason for doing them.

Your latest book, Fresh Prints, is deceptively not about how Will Smith’s life got flipped (turned upside-down), but about tackling printing at home. Did you purposely set out to fool the public? (I am kidding, of course)
I think that is my most favourite title for a book yet. It makes me smile (and sing the Fresh Prince theme tune) everytime I see the cover.

You have done a great job of making contemporary crafting approachable. Who did that for you?
My original inspiration for the Simple Makes books were Japanese craft books and catalogues, especially by homeware/clothing/crafty brand Felissimo. I love their clean and crisp Scandi-Japanese aesthetic. I wanted to make home made things that didn’t look home made, just simple and stylish.


If you were stuck in a deserted car park in Norwich with only five things from your kit bag, what would they be?

- Bondaweb, for joining two pieces of fabric together;
- Scallop-edged scissors;
- Scapel/10a blades and metal ruler for no-nonsense cutting;
- Glue dots and sheets for no-mess gluing;
- My jar of  bits and bobs – a collection from my mum and my nan’s button boxes, plus sequins, beads, tiny bits of things that-will-come-in-useful-one-day-I’m-sure. (Keep telling yourself that.)(Christine has printed hares on her stairs – just imagine what she would do to a car park.)

What hasn’t been designed yet that would make your life easier?
Self-sweeping floors… There are always loose threads, fabric fluff and scattered sequins all over my floor. Maybe I could try and befriend the animals as Snow White does to help me clear up after projects, though living in South London, the wildlife would be a bit more like the ones in Enchanted.

taken from blogs.disney.com

taken from blogs.disney.com

Fresh Prints, published by Quadrille, is available to buy now on Amazon or at bookstores smart enough to have snapped it up.

We chatted about many more things, Icecream, Target superstores and my future plans. To read the full interview click here


To be in with a chance of WINNING A SIGNED COPY OF THE BOOK either visit and ‘like’ my facebook page here or if the facebook is not your thing simply answer this question in the comments below …“When crafting what’s your favourite snack?” (Mine’s a big jar of nuts and seeds, rainsing and chocolate covered cranberries… though I pick out all the cranberries first)

Three of my favourite Elias projects

(click on images for instructions)

PlateBowl-Final

plate and bowl planter

Cement-Jewels-Final

cement jewesl hangers

drawer-lamp-1

Library card drawer lamp

see I said he was good.

WIN! a signed copy of Fresh Prints

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freshprintsbookv2

To celebrate the release of my new book Fresh Prints I am giving away a signed copy to one lucky recipient. To be in with a chance of winning simply visit my new facebook page by clicking here and clicking on ‘like’ within the page. (if you really do like please also share the page with your friends). I’ll be picking a winner next Thursday.
For more information on the book click here.

make: twine birds nest

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simple birds nest

This little nest was actually a happy accident I made when tidying up the mess created from a very satisfying job of fraying the edge of a hessian table runner. You could also use wool, string or twine. A rough string or twine such as  garden string works best as it holds together better.

MAKE AN EASTER NEST

click to enlarge and download

Happy Happy Easter, have a lovely long weekend, I’m reupholstering a sofa … but first I have to go to Ikea to get the fabric … can I face it?

new book Fresh Prints … out soon

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Fresh Prints delivery

Today I got an exciting delivery in the post … A lovely box of hot off the press copies of my new book Fresh Prints. This is my fourth book for Quadrilles Simple Makes series (and maybe my fave, but then I say that about each one I do! Definitely my fave title. Thanks for the inspiration Will.)

Print was my favourite medium to work with when I was at college and the print room was my favourite place to be so I loved getting my hands dirty and smelling of printers ink once again to make the 20 + projects for the book.

I had lovely photographer Keiko Oikawa shooting the pictures and yet again she made all my projects look lovely, clean and fresh.

I think my favourite project was this one …

ALphabet cards

circus letter wooden postcard

or this one?

Botanical cards

botanical greetings card

or maybe this one ….

gift boxes

but then this one is really nice.

mushroom mayhem cushion

Mushroom cushion all photos copyright Keiko Oikawa

Here’s a little more information about the book and to ‘look inside’ visit amazon.co.uk (maybe you’d like to buy a copy too?)

FRESH PRINTS

click to enlarge

 

make: Easter bunny bag (ideal for egg hunts)

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Bunny head bag

Easter is really soon although I feel like it’s been and gone as I had my Easter weekend in February. Back then I spent four days working on a big home entertaining and craft shoot for Homes and Gardens magazine for Easter 2015 – Yup that’s how organized they are. Unfortunately it means that not only do I have 14 lovely craft projects that I can’t show you till next year but I also have had my fill of mini eggs, chocolate Shredded Wheat nests and Hot Cross Buns. (Actually I can never have my fill of H.C.B’s.)

Even though I feel Easter is So Over I did dream up this little chappy the other day. He’s a cute way to store your precious mini eggs and other findings from an Easter Egg Hunt and simple to make using a little felt, fabric glue and embroidery thread.

bunny head bag 2

I was too tired to put the computer on last night (and too engrossed in Masterchef) to write up the instructions in the usual fashion so I’ve done a cartoon style step by step instead.

bunny instructions

Download the template here

If you (or your little egg hunters) need to keep the bunny close at hand sew a long ribbon to the back of the head in a loop and wear round the  neck or over the shoulder

For more Easter projects visit these other blog posts. (Click on image to see post)

flower garland

MAKE FELT FLOWER WREATH

HOW TO MAKE FELT FLOWERS

HOW TO MAKE FELT FLOWERS

circus egg decorations1

FREE PRINTABLE EGG DECORATIONS

bunny egg cosy

BUNNY EGG COSY

6a00d8341c6a0853ef0163030c4303970d-800wi

NICE NEON EGGS

from brit+co

EGG DECORATING IDEAS

 

make: simple Mother’s Day floral garland

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These pretty little paper flowers are a quick and simple idea for Mothering Sunday. Once you learn how to make them there are hundreds (well maybe 10) of ways to use them. From the garland shown here for jazzing up gift wrap, to sticking on a plain greetings card or scattering over a dining table or breakfast in bed tray. I’m sure any mother will appreciate a little handmade something on Mothers Day.

PAPER FLORAL GARLAND

You will need
Two 8cm squares of coloured paper, for large flowers
Two 5cm squares of coloured paper, for small flowers
4cm squares of coloured paper, for leaves
Scissors
Craft knife and cutting mat
Metal ruler
Bradawl
Small metal split pins
Length of thin ribbon or gold cord (if making a garland)
Glue stick or glue dots

TO MAKE THE FLOWERS
Using the templates below, cut the petal shapes from coloured paper. You need two petal shapes in different colours for each finished flower.

1. Take one of the petal shapes and, using the blunt back edge of the craft knife, score two straight lines as marked on the template (A and B). Turn the shape over and score the two diagonal lines marked in blue (C and D).

2. Fold the petal shape along the line marked A. Open it out and fold again along the line marked B, then turn it over and fold along the lines marked C and D.

3&4. Working around the shape, pinch each quarter together to give a slightly three-dimensional effect. Repeat steps 1–4 with another piece of paper in a different colour.

5. Using a bradawl and resting on a piece of wood, make a hole in the centre of each petal shape.

6. Place one petal shape on top of another and push a split pin through the two holes. Arrange the petals so both sets are visible. Repeat steps 1–6 until you have made as many flowers as you like.

7. To make the leaves. Using the template, trace and cut out the leaf shapes from coloured paper. Score a line three-quarters of the way down the centre of the leaf and crease.

8. To use the flowers and leaves to decorate a gift box, make holes in the leaves and thread them onto some thin ribbon or gold cord and wrap around the box. Use a small amount of glue or a glue dot to fix the flowers in place on the top of the box.

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This project was taken from my book Scissors, Paper, Craft. Click here to see more of the book or use the blog search facility on the right for more Mothers Day inspiration.

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I love my mum

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This is a sponsored post

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March is a very special month for my mum. In it she has two days of celebration. 1. Her birthday 2. Mothering Sunday. Some years these two occasions land on the same day so sometimes a bit like those poor people whose birthdays fall on December 25 she misses out on the full quota of gifts and treats.

This year the two events are separated by a couple of weeks but as I wasn’t able to see mum on her birthday (she was on holiday) and I’ll be away for Mother’s Day I hosted a special breakfast in bed extravaganza last weekend.

Having said that I didn’t really have much time (in between packing, tidying the house and work) to organise it all but I found wonderful wonderful Marks and Spencer was the perfect one stop shop for everything I needed …

Flowers delivered on the day.Tick

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M&S do a great variety of cut flower bouquets and actual planted plants (always better value if you ask me as you get a plant that will last and often a useful receptacle for doing useful things with). Prices start at £20 and delivery is free. Click here for more info.

Special china. Tick

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There’s a pretty range called Spring Meadow which has everything from mugs to seat pads. The floral pattern is really cheery for a breakfast table. Click here to see the rest of the range

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If you’re looking for something slightly more refined for your mothers Earl Grey Kirstie Allsopp has done a range of bits and bobs including a bone china teacup set and an all-in-one-teapot and cup combo. (A very clever idea and apparently something my mum has wanted for ages). Click here to see what else she’s been up to.

Yummy breakfast goodies. Tick

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I couldn’t resist these Lemon Shortbread biscuits as they come in such a pretty tin that would be Really Useful For Keeping Things In when all the biscuits are gone (about 20 minutes in our house) and they’re a bargain at only £3. I also served Welsh Cakes, fresh fruit, yoghurt and honey and a delicious apple and cinnamon granola musli thingy which is so much more than a breakfast cereal (I reckon it won’t be long before mum is mixing it into her crumble toppings and flapjack recipes). Click here if you’re feeling peckish.

And finally if you can’t decide what to buy or need to send something small in the post then this pretty gift card is just the thing. Tick and tick. Click here for more info

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For more Mothers Day ideas visit the M&S website where they’ve put together lots of handy Mothering Sunday gift ideas.

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Print me pretty fabric competition VOTE NOW*

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*Ideally for me!

snowdrops

Print

A couple of weeks ago I showed you the fabric design I did for the Print Me Pretty competition. It was this cute repeat pattern of some snow and snow drops, it was my first attempt at designing fabric and I’m really excited at the thought of seeing my own illustrations printed on fabric. There’s been six other entries in the comp and it’d be lovely if you guys cold pop over to their facebook page and ‘like’ my design …. it’s the pattern with the most votes wins!

To vote click on the image below which will take you to their Facebook page. There  you can see all the designs by clicking on ‘see all’ in the ‘Recent posts by others’ box. (on the right hand side in the stupid new Facebook layout) Then ‘like’ the design(s) you like. Voting closes at midnight GMT on March 19th.

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Click on image to vote

Thank you ever so much.

 

book club: Things I Love

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things i love book

This is a good book. It’s a big book full of good stuff by interior stylist Megan Morton. It’s a book which I fully intend to one day sit down with a cup of tea and some biscuits and read from cover to cover (it’s probably number 10 in the queue of books waiting for that glorious day).

It’s a book that when maybe you’ve just got a little tired of amazing pictures of beautiful homes …

Megan-mmorton-interiors

you turn the page and get a section of perforated cut-out-and-keep postcards full of witty slogans and pretty pictures (which is quite frankly blowing my mind as I want to use the postcards but can’t bare to tear them from the book) …

Megan-Morton-Postcards

Moving on, there’s a chapter of interviews with inspiringly fabulous people …

Megan-Morton-interviews

Then one full of helpful hints to make your home look like it’s from the pages of a magazine …

Useful-pages-Megan-Morton

And to top it off at the end you get a gatefold section (who doesn’t love a gatefold)  showcasing Megan’s Styling Manifesto which actually now I’ve read this page is a bit twee and nothing groundbreaking but it looks good and really isn’t that all that matters?

Megan-Morton-Manifesto

Megan-Morton

Buy Megan’s book here and visit her website here

Win! your very own design printed on fabric

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A little while ago I introduced you all to Printmepretty. The new bespoke fabric printing company who will make up fabric based on your very own designs. Not only can you order enough fabric to make bespoke cushions, curtain, tea towels, bed linens (the list is endless) but also sell your designs through their website to other fabric lovers.

They are a fledgling business and are happy to announce their first competition:To design a fabric based on the theme Winter.

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click image to visit site

I’ve had a go and come up with this …

Print

but then I also like it with pink snow …

Print

or black snow. I can’t decide.

Print

Upload your designs here between the 9th and 12th of March for a chance to win 3 meters of fabric.

Good luck!

 

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