Lately

Oops, it’s been several months since I posted here. I haven’t forgotten about my 2016 planners, I will take some pictures and will show them to you next time.

I’ve been streamlining my life recently. The stress of trying to conceive got to much, so I have decided to take it easy this year. I want to focus more on little things that bring me joy and happiness, and at this time that means babysitting for family members (I love babies!), gardening, cooking and working on my house.

Here are the newest installations in the living room/sewing room:

An Ikea Varde shelving (the same one I have in my kitchen and also on my kitchen windowsill) for some of my books. This shelving can handle a lot as there are about 100 books there. And my little collection of magnetic butterflies. I am having fun putting them everywhere, like on that pink metal plant pot on the shelving).

ikea varde shelving bookshelfAnd an Umbra invisible bookshelf in a little corner of the living room. This is a very clever little thing as you cannot see the shelf itself, you just see the books. My partner liked it a lot so he bought another one for himself (a double one for his blue ray discs).

invisible bookshelfbottom of invisible shelfI need to find more storage for my books as my collection keeps growing and growing. I grew up in a household full of books (the norm when your father is a writer and a professor), so books are a treasure in my own house. At the moment, I am into spiritual books and wholefood cookbooks.

Do you also hoard books? Please share any of your book storage.

 

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Win a custom made russian doll case for your phone

Hi everyone! I took some time off blogging as the recent months have been quite hectic for me. I spent most of december in France, to attend my sister’s funeral and to spend some time with my family. I didn’t close my shops while I was away, so then spend most of january catching up on december’s orders. Thank you so much to those of you who have been very patient with your orders.

Today, I have 3 custom made russian doll cases to give away, one per winner. You can use it as a phone case or a purse or a business cards holder/case. I made the one in the picture to fit a Samsung phone. The one you will win, will be custom made for your phone, so you need to let me know the name/model of your phone. If you don’t like the russian doll fabric, you can ask me to make it in a different/surprise fabric.

handmadewithjoy phone caseTo win one of those cases, please visit my etsy shop and let me know (in a comment here) what you think I should make and sell that is not already in my shop. Don’t forget to put in the comment the name/model of your phone in case you win, and wether you want your case made with the russian doll fabric in the picture or a different/surprise fabric. The giveaway is open to anyone worldwide, the 1st person to leave a comment will automatically win, and I will draw 2 winners among all the other participants on March 11th (the giveaway is open till March 10th 2015 12pm GMT time).

If you’d rather buy one for you or for someone else as a gift, you can find it in my shop here: www.etsy.com/listing/224412544/russian-doll-case-custom-made-for-your

Good luck!

Ipad cover giveaway

Sorry I haven’t blogged for ages, and thanks to those who keep reading this blog despite the long absence.

As promised, I am giving away 1 ipad cover this month, this is the one I made for the Handmade Gifts book. To win it, all you have to do is check out my etsy shop and tell me – by leaving a comment here – what is your favourite item in the shop. The giveaway is open till August 4th midnight (GMT time). It is open to anyone anywhere in the world. You can enter even if you have won previously. I will select 1 winner randomly.

ipad cover handmadewithjoymy ipad cover in Handmade Gifts bookThe giveaway is for the ipad cover only, the iphone cover on the picture or the book are not included.

Here are some pictures of the garden (taken mid july):

2 grape vines, each in a 55 cm pot, underplanted with spring anemones bulbs, strawberries and purple violas. There are 6 bunches of grapes this year.

2 grape vinesThis is a peach tree, that was supposed to be a nectarine tree from Thompson&Morgan that costs £34 (they completely ignored my complaint so I do not recommend them for fruit trees). It has 3 fruits on it but they are not ready yet. It is in a 66cm pot and I underplanted it with borlotti beans and dwarf french yellow beans.

container peach treeSome squashes climbing up an arch (potimarrom and gem rollet varieties). Because I have a small garden, I only grow small fruit squashes and pumpkins that can be grown up some arches. This year, I grow each one in 35cm bottomless pot (in the front garden raised beds). 3 pots to each side of an arch.

potimarron and gem rollet squashesThis is an eucalyptus gree that I bought very small in a 9cm pot, I grow it in a 35cm pot so as to keep it small as I do not want a big tree. It is now in its 3rd year and is looking lovely.

STA60037Some desiree potatoes, growing in pink flexitubs (£3 from tesco). I only grow potatoes in these pots now. The other potatoes that I am growing these year are the setanta variety.

setanta potatoes in pink potsA lebanese courgette, growing in a 55cm pot along with 3 tomatoes. If you look carefully, there is a huge courgette there that I forgot to harvest on time so it grew very big.

lebanese courgetteThis is the peach tree in the back garden. Despite being treated with a bordeaux mixture, it still got some curled leaves (which I forgot to take off on time so they profilerated). But I got 20 fruits from it this year, and they were big and tasted lovely.

peach tree in backgardenThis was the 1st peach of the year.

huge peach from my gardenI recently bought some peaches from Aldi and they tasted somewhat like a mango so I saved a stone and will try to grow it. I will have to do some research as I am not sure if I should grow it as a tree or grow it and then get a cutting from it to graft on my existing peach tree. Have you grown any fruit tree from a stone or done some grafting? Do you have any advice for me?

Sewing wise, I have finished a batch of these ipad covers, they have a pocket which is big enough for an A5 size notebook and some pens. You can find it here.

russian doll ipad coverGood luck on the giveaway.

New Sleeve Cover for MacBook Air in russian doll fabric

After some requests for custom made Sleeve Cover for MacBook Air, I though I would offer it in my shop. It is now listed in all my shops,  for both the MacBook Air 11.6″ and 13.3″. It can be made in any fabric you want (russian doll, liberty, kaffe fassett etc). You can see pictures of fabrics available in my flickr photo gallery (in the 4 folders called FABRICS FOR CUSTOM ORDERS).

You can still get free worldwide shipping in my main shop.

Or you can buy it here if you would like to pay in dollars.

cover sleeve macbook air russian doll fabric

cover sleeve for macbook air matryoshka fabric

Other shop news: I have decided to offer direct checkout in my bigcartel shop. For buyers, this means that you will be able to pay with any direct debit card or credit card. If however you prefer to pay by paypal, then you need to contact me with the details of the item you want to buy and I will email you a paypal invoice which you can then pay.

This week I will be:

* sewing a batch of new large cosmetic toiletry bags

* reviewing my business and production plan

* making time to bake biscuits and muffins

Handmade Gifts book

Sorry I have not been blogging for months. I really want to make more effort with this blog so I am thinking of having a blog post once a week from now on. I would be very grateful if you could let me know what you would like to read more on my blog: gardening, sewing, selling handmade, sewing room ideas? Thanks in advance.

Do you remember the book I was working on beginning of this year? It is now available to buy in all bookshops and you can view it on amazon (ISBN-10: 1409334058  ISBN-13: 978-1409334057):

www.amazon.co.uk/Handmade-Gifts-Dk-Crafts/dp/1409334058

Amazon and some of its marketsellers offer international deliveries if you would like to buy one but live outside of UK. I’ve bought several copies there for members of my family in France. I got my copy from the editors and it is a great book with a lot of lovely crafts to make. I will do a proper review of it another time but here are a few pictures:

Handmade Gifts book   Handmade Gifts book DK

The book was written with several other crafters and is published by DK (they also sell the book directly there – as a hardback and an ebook), my contribution is on page 106 and my name is on the authors page 251).

my ipad cover in Handmade Gifts book

This is the list of projects in the book along with the name of all the contributors. My name is on the top right of the right page.

Handmade Gifts book authors

Handmade Gifts book Lova

Yes I know, I have a very long name. For those wo are curious about it, I am originally from Madagascar.

To celebrate the release of the book, I thought I would offer FREE DELIVERY (including international deliveries) for all my handmade items (including custom made items) that are purchased directly from me (not from my shops). So if you would like to purchase something, have a look at one of my shops (links on the right column bar) and contact me here  – by leaving a comment (or via any of my shops) and I will email you a paypal invoice. You can pay by bank transfers (or cheque/postal order/cash at any HSBC bank) or by paypal.

Here is a Nook cover that I sewed lately for a customer.  I now I offer a custom fit cover for any ereader (Kindle, Nook, etc), and you can also chose the fabric you want (I have more than 100 fabrics to chose from).

On the sewing room front, I haven’t had time to re-organise it yet but I found a nifty solution for storing my iron board. If you remember, I have found my dream table which serves as cutting table (with a self healing mat on the right side of the table) and an ironing table (with a homemade portable ironing board on the left side of the table). My iron is big bulky and heavy so I don’t want to store it in a cupboard as I use it everyday, but it does not look nice permanently on the table, so I put 2 Ikea mini chest of drawers on top of each other under the table (like this one but mine has 9 drawers) and now my iron sits on top of those drawers and is ready to be used anytime.

sewing room iron storage

Now, I am still debating whether to sew a curtain or not to hide all the junk under the table (right now, my tulip bulbs are parking there until I plant them in december). And talking about gardening, here is a picture of my side yard this summer (in august), as promised. I will write a blog post about my success and failures in the garden this year, next time.

my side yard august 2013

 

Etsy seller interview on bbc essex radio

Just a quick note to let you know that one (or more) etsy sellers based in Essex will be interviewed tomorrow morning (monday 5th october) on the Dave Monk show on bbc essex radio. The producer contacted me and asked if I’d be interested to be interviewed but I replied to late so the guest slot went to someone else (she contacted me on friday morning and as I was out all day I only replied in the evening, but to late). The show is about local artisans in Essex being part of a worldwide marketplace and how that’s affected their businesses. So tune in if you can, the proposed slot is supposed to be at 10.10am but am not sure if it has changed, Monk’s show is usually from 9 to 12 in the morning; if you are not able to listen to it live I think that it is available to listen to again for a few days afterward on the bbc iplayer online.

Beside that I’m busy again with custom orders, it’s often the case around this time of the year and again I find it challenging to have a balance as custom orders take up a lot of my time leaving me hardly any time to sew new items that are needed if I want to stock up my shops for the christmas season. I may have to stop accepting custom orders in november and december if I want to make things easier for myself.

Ah, and I forgot to show you my inspiration wall, I finished it weeks ago and posted in on my flickr pages so you may have seen it already, it was also featured in several blogs (links on my flickr):

preview of my inspiration wall in sewing room

New sewing room

I’m back. The house purchase took longer than I expected but we finally moved to the new (old) house last month. It’s a small 2 bed bungalow (well small compared to our old house but roomy compared to a typical bungalow). So my sewing area is also smaller and is a part of our living room, it has a french door which leads to the garden, but the garden is still a messy work in progress so no pretty view from my sewing corner yet.

sewing table sewing cabinet

sewing storage tables sewing room

This  time, I’m trying a layout with the table against the wall, but when the garden is prettier I may put the table in the middle as before so that I can enjoy looking at the garden while sewing.  I also want a separate cutting table so am open to ideas on how to incorporate one without making the space look to small and crampy.

If you are looking for more sewing room ideas, check out the ones in the links below (all from my favourites folder in flickr):

Pink sewing room by chaletgirl13

Cube storage in a sewing room from decorology

The new Studio magazine from Cloth Paper Scissor also has lots of ideas, but I have not seen it sold in UK yet (you can buy it via equilter.com who delivers to UK).