Say hello to Paintbox Yarns

Before I get started, let me set the scene. I’m working at home and the doorbell rings. It’s our postman and he hands me a pink bag filled with yarn. I instantly knew it was from LoveKnitting and even said “But I’m not expecting anything”. Poor guy must get that all the time but humoured me by saying “I’m sure you’re going to enjoy it”. Oh yes. What was in that bag was a selection of new kid on the block, Paintbox Yarns, wonderful collection of DK, aran, chunky and cotton yarns.


Say hello to Paintbox Yarns - a first look over at This Little Space of Mine


To say I was shocked is putting it lightly; I had no idea it was coming and the colours were just so beautiful. Even my boyfriend commented on how nice the colours were, a sentiment echoed when I sent a photo to my Mum and sister.

So who are Paintbox Yarns? Exclusive to Love Knitting, they’ve launched with 60 shades in four lines – DK, aran, chunky and cotton. Designed to be “modern, playful and all about colour”, they’ve launched alongside a selection of free knitting and crochet patterns – including this adorable ladybird pattern, plus a variety of items of clothing (if you’re on the lookout for bigger projects).


Say hello to Paintbox Yarns - a first look over at This Little Space of Mine


What’s struck me most about Paintbox Yarns is the collection of shades they’ve launched with; it feels like they’ve nailed it here and I’m excited about this brand and where it’s going and what might be in store. LoveKnitting have also put together a selection of five colour packs, which is where I get to announce something exciting…

It’s giveaway time! I’ve teamed up with LoveKnitting to give you the chance to win both the Fallen Leaves and Winter Frost Simply DK packs – worth over £35 and, more importantly, that’s 20 balls of yarn for you to plan with. All you have to do is head over to my Instagram feed and…

  • Follow both @leanneabeale and @paintboxyarns
  • Comment on the Paintbox yarn post within my feed with the names of up to two friends who you think would also love Paintbox yarns

And that’s it!

The competition runs until 23:59 on Thursday 22nd September 2016 and is open to UK residents only on this occasion.

Soon I’ll be back with some Paintbox Yarns inspired colour combination ideas; I do love putting together interesting colours so I hope you’ll join me for that. In the meantime do check out Paintbox Yarns, I think you’ll be impressed.

Leanne x

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A selection of Paintbox Yarns’ range was sent to me by LoveKnitting, but all opinions and excitement about yarn are my own.

A chat with Fran from We Make Collective

One of my favourite posts to prepare is the ‘A chat with’ post, where I get to talk to super talented entrepreneurs about how they’re going it alone and working in a creative environment to generate their income. Creativity can take many forms, from baking to knitting, home interior to tapestry and everything in between. So while we might not all be able to be creative in our working lives, I’m a big believer that we can do it in our free time (I know I love making things while I’m watching TV). I’ve also created a separate ‘A chat with’ page where you can check out previous chats with perhaps some familiar faces. I digress.

So today I’m bringing back this series with a chat with Fran from We Make Collective. We Make Collective is leading the way in encouraging us to be creative, free from fear of failure but in celebration of experimenting with new ways of making. Alongside Fall For DIY, Fran has been busy building the We Make Collective brand over the last year or so and I’m delighted to have her on my blog today.


A chat with Fran from We Make Collective. Posted on This Little Space of Mine


Hey Fran, it’s so great to have you here. Let’s kick things off with a little introduction to who you are…

Hello! I’m Fran. I write a blog called Fall For DIY which is all about making and being creative. I live in Birmingham, UK with my tall other half and a very small, furry rabbit. Blogging gives me the opportunity to explore different crafts and help others do the same. I try to write tutorials that challenge me to look at a material or technique a little differently and create an outcome that has a quality finish to it.

For readers who haven’t heard about We Make Collective, could you tell us all about it and what the aim behind it is?

I decided to start we make collective after meeting far too many people that don’t believe in their own creativity. Creativity is something we practice and learn. Not something we’re gifted with. This idea is one that many of my readers also feel strongly about. In response to this need for easy access to skills, materials and inspiration and after many months of working on the idea, I launched the We Make Collective – a site to share what we do and what we love online and in real life. I wanted to create a site that promoted individual creativity and ideas rather than a one size fits all, creative mentality.


A chat with Fran from We Make Collective. Posted on This Little Space of Mine


I try to write tutorials that challenge me to look at a material or technique a little differently and create an outcome that has a quality finish to it

How did We Make Collective all begin? Was there a lightbulb moment, and how do you then go about deciding the theme of kits?

The idea actually developed over many years. I had previously created jewellery making kits and I wanted to expand on this idea to give more options and include more techniques. This idea evolved over eight months up to our launch and continues to be tweaked and improved. I try to base our themes on popular projects, techniques that make me excited to work with.


A chat with Fran from We Make Collective. Posted on This Little Space of Mine


As well as We Make Collective, you run Fall for DIY and do other freelance projects, so how do you go about juggling them and organising yourself?

That’s a work in progress. I am always working on different projects and the hardest part is keeping on top of deadlines. I use my planner, Wunderlist on my phone and computer and many, many notebooks to get everything out of my head and kind of organised.

Creativity is something we practice and learn. Not something we’re gifted with.

Work aside, what’s your favourite craft(s)? Are there any new crafts you’ve recently learnt and loved?

I’m currently loving macrame which is our latest kit! It’s actually a lot of fun and my arm muscles are getting stronger as well!

Stepping away from your busy day-to-day, what’s the key to a happy life for you?

I’m very grateful to be able to do my job and have a creative outlet which for me is pretty much the key to a happy life. But away from this I find that having a goal to work towards gives me a reason to stop working and focus on my life. This could be travel, personal goals or a hobby. My personal goal at the moment is to buy a house and fix it up. It’s been years of working hard and saving but we’re almost there and I’m so excited!

I find that having a goal to work towards gives me a reason to stop working and focus on my life.

And finally, who would you invite to your famous person dinner party (dead or alive) and why?

Kirstie Allsopp (we can talk crafts and she can help me find the perfect house), Bjork, David Attenborough, Ira Glass, Martha Stewart, Lena Dunham and Tina Fey. We’d eat tacos and drink margaritas.


A chat with Fran from We Make Collective. Posted on This Little Space of Mine


How great is Fran? Fran – thank you for your time!

Fran has also very kindly offered a 20% We Make Collective discount to readers of This Little Space of Mine with the code THISLITTLESPACE (valid until the end of October 2016). Pop over to We Make Collective to enjoy this special offer.

You can also catch We Make Collective on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. You can also find Fran at Fall For DIY.

Thanks for reading – hope you enjoyed the post!

Leanne x

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Life as a crafter: my current works in progress – September 2016

One of my favourite posts to write! Today I’m back and sharing a look at what I’m making at the moment. The summer months have been a quieter time for making, but I’m now ready for the colder months and cuddling up on the sofa, watching Gilmore Girls (of course) and working on a few projects that I’d like to have finished before the end of the year. Wow, just where has the time gone?

Throughout the year I’ve kept a spreadsheet of notes that I update on a regular basis to see where I am with what I’d like to make. There’s been something about honestly writing out all those projects I have stashed away in my room, that’s made me actually get stuff done. And that’s a great feeling!


Life as a crafter - my current works in progress - This Little Space of Mine


Over the summer it was a pretty busy time launching Fred and Bell and designing new stickers to go alongside it, so I haven’t really completed anything. That being said, there are a whole lot of projects underway that I’ve been picking up in quieter moments. I’ve broken down what’s underway/in progress and what’s on my radar.

Underway
  • The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery ‘Let’s go on an adventure’ stitch-along. Over the summer I stitched Egypt and India and I’m now almost finished with Japan. Each month we’re giving a section of the full pattern and a new country; with only three left I’m placing bets on where it might take us. I’m also wondering what next year’s stitch along theme might be. I also wrote a little about the first 6 months in, if you fancy a look.
  • San Francisco tapestry cushion. I kind of fell out of love with this for a while; it’s a lengthy project and not making progress, plus struggling with getting the hang of the pattern, meant it got put down for a while. With a fresh pair of eyes I love it now and feel like I’ve finally got to grips with it. The roads are coming together nicely and I can’t wait to add in the colours. You can see the kit I bought here.
  • Secret Christmas project. I’m going to do that annoying thing and tell you I’m making something, but not tell you what it is. It’s a gooden and I’ll share it once it’s been given as a Christmas gift (can’t believe I’m on Christmas gifts already!).
  • 100 days of crochet blanket. Inspired by #the100dayproject on Instagram I’ve decided it’s the perfect way to crochet another scrap granny square blanket before the end of the year. Crocheting a square a day, by the 3rd December (excluding the blanket) I’ll have a blanket ready to give to a local kitty charity – plus I’m stash busting. I’m posting regular pictures over on my Instagram feed if you fancy a look.
  • Sew La Di Da dress. I started this around May 2014 and haven’t finished it. To make matters worse there’s not much more to do. I will get this Sew La Di Da make finished one day.
On my radar
  • Socks! My Mum bought me everything I need to start, for my birthday, so there’s no excuse not to learn how to make them for myself.
  • Patchwork quilt. My friend has asked me to make one using her baby daughter’s baby grows, so this year my Mum and I are going to tackle it as a joint project together.
  • Tilly and the Button’s Françoise dress. I completely forgot about this; my friend bought me this shift dress pattern for Christmas. I love the style of the dress, so perfect for me.
  • Weekender blanket with Stylecraft’s newest colours. I’ve wanted to make Cherry Heart’s blanket for a while and the newest colours from Stylecraft would be a great colour combination for it – plus when it was limited edition I bought two packs and have now idea what to do with them! Not sure I like how they’re joined in her pattern, so may look for something a bit different.

If you fancy seeing my previous month’s WIPs and progress, I’ve created a page collating all previous projects.

What’s on your list? Have you worked on anything good over the summer?

Leanne x

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The year in books – a summer update

As I get back into the swing of blogging I thought now was as good a time as any to update you on my challenge to read at least one book a month this year – joining in with Circle of Pine Tree’s the year in books. For regular readers I’d previously mentioned having a lull in my reading, but over the summer the book worm in me woke up and I’ve loved reading. I’d imagine this might be down to book choices; there’s nothing better than getting engrossed in a book and then only being able to think of the story in those moments where you can’t read.

Over the summer I also hit 15 books read this year so far, so I’m really chuffed I’ve been able to meet my goal. It hasn’t felt like a tough goal, but more a prompt to encourage me to read. The funny thing is when I talk to other people about reading the general message that comes through is how much they’d like to read more. And how they loved reading as a child. Isn’t it funny? So many of us want to read, but yet making time for it doesn’t seem to happen.

So I’ll use this post to recap on what I’ve read over the summer. It’s become a bit of a lengthy post, so if you prefer to just go with the headlines I’ve read the following over the summer. Oh, and I read my first Bill Bryson book and now I think I’m hooked!

  • Better than Before – Gretchen Rubin
  • The Versions of Us – Laura Barnett
  • Mary Poppins Opens the Door – P.L. Travers
  • Notes from a Small Island – Bill Bryson
  • The BFG – Roald Dahl
  • At Home – Bill Bryson

Below is also my book choice for September – though I’d imagine I’ll finish it in the coming days!


The year in books - a summer update. This Little Space of Mine


September’s book choice

This month I’m reading Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith. Recommended to me by family, I was dubious about whether this was my kind of read. A feeling reinforced when the first chapter talks about the murder of a cat (don’t worry, that’s not giving anything away). Fast forwarded a few chapters and I’m hooked on this crime thriller. A real page turner, I’m looking forward to watching the film of it once finished. Have you read Child 44?

Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin

I so wanted to enjoy this; I loved The Happiness Project and the Happier podcast is a regular listen, but this pained me to read. I couldn’t wait to finish it. While it definitely had some interesting points that I know I’ve already started putting into practice, I felt irritated at times and finished the book feeling like it could’ve been half the size and still added the same value. The Happiness Project had a magic and a structure to it, something I can relate to, that Better than Before was missing. Having said that, I’m not sure I’m going to absorb Gretchen’s words in book form and I’m pretty sure the Happier podcast is a better medium to reach me.

The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett

Described as “One Day meets Sliding Doors” I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The Versions of Us tells three different versions of a couple who met in the 50’s and, while sometimes it got a bit tricky flicking from one version to the next, I enjoyed the sentiment and finished the book thinking about moments in my own life and which path they could’ve led me down. I’d say this is an easy read; there are moments when it perhaps drags a little, but I loved the characters and learning their story, so certainly didn’t bother me. A fab read I’d recommend to others.

Mary Poppins Opens the Door by P.L. Travers

I haven’t continued with the Mary Poppins collection since March, so thought I’d squeeze in the third story before our holiday. I’ve got to say that I’m still in two minds as to how I feel about the stories; one minute it feels cold with the chapters a collection of short stories instead of one flowing story, and the next there’s a warmth and I smile at the words and the sentiment behind them. In terms of children’s books, I was all about Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton so this is definitely taking me out of my comfort zone. I’ll continue on with books 4, 5 and 6 soon and let you know how I feel! Have you read them? Would love to know your opinion.

Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson

I’ll never forget a family holiday where my Dad read one of Bill Bryson’s books and laughed his way through it; I knew it must have been good but it’s only now that I’ve finally started reading his books. Notes from a Small Island is his story of a tour around Britain one final time before he and his family moved back to the US. It was written in 1995, so it’s safe to say a lot has changed! I found the book fascinating and couldn’t put it down; I was only 9 when it was written and boy oh boy did the Briton feel like a different place to what it is today. I kept thinking how much I’d love it if he did a follow up… turns out The Road to Little Dribbling was published earlier this year. It’s high on my reading list now.

The BFG by Roald Dahl

Knowing we’d see the film soon, I packed this in my suitcase and devoured it in a day. Absolutely loved every single minute of it, I re-read it The BFG with a smile on my face and remembered just why I loved Roald Dahl so much as a kid. We’ve since seen the film and it didn’t disappoint. I’d heard mixed reviews, but ignore them. The film was beautiful to watch and true to the story and I couldn’t have asked for more. I’m thinking of reading George’s Marvellous Medicine for my next Roald Dahl re-read.

At Home by Bill Bryson

Described as “A short history of private life” I was a bit worried that this wasn’t my kind of read; it’s essentially a history book – would it hold my attention? A thousand times yes. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this and all the nuggets of information Bill Bryson gave us. Kudos for how At Home is structured, each dedicated to a room in the home, and for all the elements included – from food, to education, to our relationships and even bugs and animals, this book covers all those every day items we all take for granted. Loved it!

Have you read anything you loved recently? I hope my monthly posts on what I’m reading are inspiring you to read more. Don’t forget to catch the #theyearinbooks hashtag over on Instagram!

Leanne x

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A look back at summer 2016

Hello! I’m writing this post as I come to the end of the first week back at work after our holiday. The sunshine has gone, it’s been a long week and next week is looking even busier. Oh now come on, it’s not that bad. But this week has been all about the holiday blues vs. knowing we’re approaching my favourite time of year. There’s something about September, fresh starts and focusing for the final few months of the year that I really like. That being said, I’d definitely have liked more lazying about reading books and magazines and drinking tea this week!

So summer 2016, weirdly this year feels quite defined as the period from when I opened Fred & Bell/began my blog break in July through to… now really. It’s not always as defined, but I do like that this period is quite neatly framed. As I get back into the swing of blogging I thought I’d do a little look back at the last couple of months and what I’ve been up to. I’ll also talk further down the post a little about next steps for This Little Space of Mine, so do read on/scroll to the bottom.

July saw the birth of my friends’ baby boy William and many smitten baby moments, followed by my other closest friend getting married just a couple of weeks later. I felt so full of love for my girls and couldn’t have been prouder; being a bridesmaid was a super special moment and probably one of my favourite moments this year so far was dancing with them both, and baby William, at the wedding.

July was also the month that Fred & Bell opened and wowee, I was so overwhelmed by the words of encouragement, sales, cards of good luck from friends and people who took the time to share what I was up to. There are moments in life where people can be a bit crappy and mean; it was moments after I opened the shop that I remembered just how kind people can be. The shop is going from strength to strength and just this week have I doubled the product range, so it might just be about to get a whole lot busier!

Craft wise, I wrote two posts for LoveKnitting – couldn’t help but smile when I saw little old me’s posts up on their blog. I wrote first about baby blanket patterns for beginners through to pro’s and then followed it up with a post about MillaMia’s Naturally Soft Cotton yarn collection. Aside from writing, summer is always an odd time with crafting; my productivity levels go down as I’m distracted by other things going on. I’ve loved working on the Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery Pumpkin Passport though and I can’t wait to get started on the Japan pattern this weekend. I also fell out of love/fell back in love with tapestry and started a top secret project I can’t share just yet.

During the last couple of months we’ve also made some progress on our garden; our decking has been re-painted, we now have garden furniture, there’s been a whole lot of weeding going on (!) and this weekend I’m hoping to get our fence painted – if the weather is kind enough. Feels good to see it coming together. Now we’re on to finally framing all our photos/prints and deciding on curtains.

And it wouldn’t be summer without a little sunshine; sunshine we found in Greece! We visited the island of Chios for a week, to celebrate our friends’ wedding. Loved kicking back, swimming, reading, sunbathing and being with friends.

So that was the summer. And a good one it was!

Now I’m back into work, the shop, blogging, crafting and all the other life admin bits and pieces and I’m wondering, how the heck am I going to be able to keep doing it? I have no idea. I do know something might have to give eventually, but for now I’m going to keep juggling while I feel comfortable to do so. In terms of This Little Space of Mine, I’m definitely not going anywhere but there may be a lack of structure going forward. Pre-summer I was writing three posts a week and publishing them on set days. The reality is I can’t do that anymore and actually I don’t want to. I want to share content when it feels right to and I want to impulsively write and share something when the mood takes me – like the digital detox post last week. I’m going to see how I get on but I can also assure you that the regular monthly posts will still be returning too!

Finally, I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU to anyone who took the time to complete my reader survey – I learned a lot from the insights you gave, so thank you!

Wishing you a great weekend and I’ll be back next week!

Leanne x

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An unexpected digital detox

Hello! How are you? I hadn’t planned to be back from my blog break just yet, but I wanted to share some thoughts on a digital detox after our holiday in Greece. There’s already a lot of content out there about turning off your phone, deleting social media apps, turning off sync on your emails etc, but I’ll just share with you a first hand, unexpected, experience of a week with no internet.

Before I left for Greece I’d had a conversation with my sister about turning off Wifi for a week and just having a break. No Facebook, Instagram, emails, just a complete break. We decided in the end that I’d never do it; plus she was going to send me daily pics of Freds and I knew I didn’t want to miss out on them! Then we arrived in Greece; Stu’s phone broke while we were driving to Heathrow (good timing!) and our apartment didn’t have Wifi. Not only that but no other cafes or restaurants to us locally had Wifi. So digital detox it was! If that’d happened a few years ago I think I would’ve freaked out, but this time I just sent an SMS (sorry, what’s that?!) to my sister to let her know and carried on with my holiday. I laugh as I type this that no Wifi is even a thing worth noting. But it’s 2016 and it really is. Thank you smartphones.


Summer 2016 - This Little Space of Mine


With the exception of a small bit of Wifi at the wedding we went to (where I was hardly going to sit on my phone all evening!), I completely switched off. I played cards, listened to podcasts (I’d downloaded them for the flight), read books, swam, sunbathed and spent time with Stu and our friends. To be honest, I didn’t really think about not being able to connect; I didn’t miss it like I thought I would. A couple of my friends had managed to pick up a bit, so they shared any news I needed to know – which was pretty much next to none.

Of course once we arrived at Athens (where I knew there was Wifi) and waited for our connecting flight home, I went online and caught up various apps and messages. I immediately noticed a difference; I went from talking to Stu or reading my book to being so engrossed in my phone I couldn’t tell you who was in front of me or where we were sitting. Since returning home I know I wasted a lot of Friday morning sitting on my phone, and on Friday evening I noticed a huge difference in how much attention I was paying my book. I was so distracted it was ridiculous. In the end my phone went on airplane mode and was put in a draw in my bedside table. I found it generally took longer for me to connect again with what I was reading. It made me angry and frustrated that something that had come so easily to me a few days before was now hard.

The fact is we need the internet for our every day lives; I don’t live on the same street or in the same house as all my loved ones, I like to blog, I have an Etsy shop, online shopping saves me time, my job wouldn’t exist without it … the reasons are endless. While there’s nothing wrong with the internet and of course all the good it’s given us, what bothers me is how much time I’m wasting mindlessly browsing various apps. What I’d really like is some kind of lock on my apps after X amount of time on them – does an app like that exist? That would be amazing. I could limit myself to only X time on any given app in a day and carry on with my life. I know I wouldn’t miss out on anything and ultimately, if there’s something really important I need to know the phone would ring. As sadly it has this year too many times.

There’s no real resolution from this post, but I am now acutely aware of how much of my time is being spent, wasted. And that needs to change. While I’m back from a holiday, feeling refreshed, this is the time to make adjustments to stop it. Any advice, tips, or experiences would be hugely welcomed.

See you soon – I plan to round up the summer months next week with a few pics and stories. Enjoy your bank holiday weekend!

Leanne x

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Taking a summer break

Hello, how are you? I’m coming to you today to let you know I’ll be taking a blog break from today, until the beginning of September. I did the same thing last year and really enjoyed having some time out; I especially enjoyed that buzz when I returned with lots of new ideas! I’m following the notion of the school summer holidays, plus Stu and I will be going to Greece for a week next month too.


California road trip: LA. Top tips on where we stayed, where we ate, what we did and more! Post via This Little Space of Mine


Photo from Santa Monica beach – wouldn’t it be fab to be going back there again?!

Before I head off, I thought this might be a good opportunity to share some of the most popular posts from the past six months. I love seeing what posts work (and don’t work) and it motivates me to think of new content that I hope will spark an interest. Did you have a particular favourite?

I can tell you all like your crafts as much as I do!

I’ve also set up a little survey, which I’m hoping a few of you might fill in – it doesn’t matter how often/rarely you read, all feedback is good feedback. I’ve never done a blog survey before but I’m hoping for some great insights into what you’re enjoying and would like to see more/less of. It’ll only take a couple of moments, so pop over now.

Of course I’ll still be around and you can catch me on Instagram and Twitter mainly; you can also find me on Snapchat, username leanneabeale. They’ll also be a bonus newsletter going out at the beginning of August so make sure you’re subscribed to receive all the latest!

Enjoy the summer break and I hope you’ll be back when I return!

Leanne x

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Colours to inspire: yellow

Hello! How are you? Today comes my latest colours to inspire post – where I share images I’ve found on Instagram that I’ve loved, all around a specific theme. Today’s theme is yellow.

To catch up on other colours to inspire posts I’ve popped the links below for you.


Found on Instagram - colours that inspire - yellow. This Little Space of Mine


Why yellow? Well, it’s summer time and there’s not a colour that reminds me more of summer and sun then yellow. Yellow is also part of the colours my best friend chose for her wedding last weekend, alongside grey. What a day it was and I was super proud to be one of her bridesmaids.

Even though these are all pictures from homemade makes I hope these can inspire you in other ways too (should you not be a crafter). Perhaps you’re looking to decorate your house this year, or thinking about buying some new furniture, or looking for a new wardrobe, I’d hope there’s something for everyone here.


Found on Instagram - colours that inspire - yellow. This Little Space of Mine


Photo from the Julie at woolmapoule, found via weareknitters. The first image I found for this post and I love, love, love this! The yellow and white pattern reminds me of honeycomb and, while the yellow is quite bright, it’s balanced out with the white and makes for a beautiful baby blanket, as in the picture. You can see more photos of this blanket over on Julie’s website (note the site isn’t written in English).


Found on Instagram - colours that inspire - yellow. This Little Space of Mine


Photo from Michelle at forever__autumn__. If you’re a regular reader you’ll know how much I love pink, especially when it’s paired with… well, any colour. The magenta shade here, teamed up with the yellow, blues/greens and greys is scrummy and I’d love to make this for myself sometime. I especially like how Michelle has used the strone/dark grey, and how it’s then softened with the rows of cream. Looking at Michelle’s Instagram feed I think she’s a big fan of yellow, so worth checking out if you do too.


Found on Instagram - colours that inspire - yellow. This Little Space of Mine


Photo from Natalie at littlecosythings. You can’t beat a good ripple blanket pattern (hint hint) and I especially love that this matches the colours from last weekend’s wedding. I quite like the randomness of when colours appear in this blanket; I’m more one for order, but this works well – there might even be an order that I can’t see. The thick stripes of yellow contrasted with grey and yellow makes for a great summer collection.


Found on Instagram - colours that inspire - yellow. This Little Space of Mine


Photo from Emma at eldenwood_craft. You can’t beat a good set of stripes and I love how bold this make is with the strong blue and yellow combination. Could make for a great scarf, gloves, socks or blanket, there’s something fun about these two colours paired together. Emma’s worked with some ace colour combinations so do check out her Instagram feed.

Which is your favourite? Any that specifically stand out? I think my favourite this month has to go to Michelle at forever__autumn__.

If you’re new to Instagram be sure to pop over to my page and say hello! As always, I’m on the lookout for more combinations, so shout if you see anything on your travels.

Thanks for reading!

Leanne x

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Photo credit: woolmapoule, forever__autumn__, littlecosythings and eldenwood_craft.

2016 goals check in – what do you do when life gets serious?

I love setting myself goals and plans; this year, probably more than others, I feel like I’ve been keeping them in the forefront on my mind. I’ve set myself goals every year but often they slip by the wayside. What’s different this year, I wonder? Perhaps because I’d spent time thinking about them – they weren’t a last minute put together for the sake of new year’s resolutions on the 1st January. Or perhaps because I thought about what was realistically achievable and what would benefit my life and keep me happy. Have you been able to stick to your goals?


2016 goals check in - what do you do when life gets serious?


My goals were broken down into home, crafts, me and career and I’ve written a little summary further down in this post about how I got on. It’s so fulfilling to stop for a moment, step back and really look at December 2015/January 2016 me and remember what was on my mind and what I wanted to do in the coming 12 months.

… However, sometimes life has other ideas. I wrote at the beginning of January about my motto being not to take life too seriously. The 4th January had arrived and life got incredible serious. My Dad was rushed to hospital after suffering two strokes. I wrote a little about this experience and my fundraising for Stroke Association. While dealing with the aftermath of that and seeking ways to help him in any way we all could, while learning exactly what having a stroke meant, my Grandad’s health was slowly deteriorating and we were told on several occasions to begin saying our goodbyes. He left us in May this year and I have his wonderful knitting and childhood memories to help me through this time.

Never before has life felt as vulnerable as it does; I feel like I’m clinging on to my family and loved ones for dear life, almost scared of the next phone call and what news it’ll bring. On the outside I try to keep it together and push forward with life, knowing more about its fragility, and on the inside I’m waiting to collapse in a heap unable to take much more. But… I know this is the stuff that makes us stronger. I know that this will pass. I know that my Grandad is at peace. I know that he gave so much happiness to my childhood and is forever in my heart. I know Dad will fight back; his determination this past six months has made me prouder than I can ever describe.

So life might throw hurdles our way, but it’s convinced me more than ever to make the best of the life we have, to live as much as we can and to truly appreciate the ones we love in our lives. In Gretchen Rubin‘s book she references choosing “the bigger life”, the life that will enrich you and give you more. I love that. I am incredibly lucky to have such a wonderful group of friends and family. Stu, especially, has been my rock and shining star through all of this. Picking me up when I’ve struggled, making me and my family laugh when we’ve needed it and being pragmatic about what the future can look like. Thank goodness for him.

So there, life may get serious from time to time, but it’s opened my eyes to what’s truly important and for that I’m thankful. I should also add that it’s not all been bad. Far from it. I’ve crafted ’til my hearts content, watched my best friend and her husband welcome a baby boy into the world, prepared for my other best friends’ wedding (which is this weekend – yay!), been so incredibly inspired at Blogtacular, spent time with loved ones and Stu and I have a trip with friends to Greece coming up.

As I mentioned earlier, here are a couple of notes on some of my specific goals – which you can also read about here. I’ve put the updates in italic.

Home
  • Finish our dining room. Done! We took a week off in a February and worked super hard to get this all done – so happy with how it looks. All we need now are new curtains!
  • Learn more about gardening and get our garden looking good. We’re slowly making progress on this. I say we, more Stu than anything. He’s been working hard on getting the lawn in a better position and, with the help of Stu’s Dad, helped us sand and repaint the decking. My Nan, Mum and Stu’s Mum are also helping us with plants and putting a border in, so we’re getting there. It’s a real learning curve and I hope to be able to learn more about plants through help from our family.
  • Frame pictures and prints. We still haven’t got round to finishing this. Must get this done!
Crafts
  • Learn how to knit socks. I’m saving this for the autumn, when the weather is a little cooler and I have a bit more time.
  • Challenge myself to make a cardigan or jumper just for me. I haven’t even thoughts about this since writing it down in my original goals post, oops. I have a cardigan in mind so I might try and give this some more thought over the summer.
  • Enjoy The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery ‘Let’s go on an adventure’ stitch-along cross stitch project. I am thoroughly enjoying this project and keeping up with it way better than I thought I might. I wrote a little about the first six months of the project too.
Me
  • Enjoying the relationships I have with my friends and family. Pretty sure I’ve covered that above; I’m certainly not taking any of my relationships for granted this year.
  • Think about my health – my diet, how much I exercise etc. This is an ongoing one for me, I generally find the more I plan my meals the better I eat. I haven’t quite got there with doing that every week but I feel like I’m starting to make progress. Exercise wise? Hmm other than my weekly Pilates class, I know I could be doing more.
  • Read at least one book a month, as part of Circle of Pine’s a year in books. This has been one of my favourite goals this year and I’m currently on my 11th book, so averaging roughly two books a month. If you head to this page and scroll down you’ll see some of the books I’ve read so far.
Career

I didn’t say too much about career at the time, but one of my goals was always to open an Etsy shop and last weekend I did just that! Wow, feels very surreal even typing that. It’s been (and continues to be) a lot of hard work but it’s been totally worth it; I am loving every minute of it and enjoying the learning process. I’m hoping for big things for Fred and Bell, so do pop over and check out my first collection of stickers. I have a few other bits and pieces I’d like to do this year, so watch this space.

As for the next six months, I’d like a bit more calm and a bit more happiness for me and my loved ones. Here’s hoping!

How have the first six months of the year been for you? I know I’m not alone in finding this year a bit rubbish so far, but I hope you’ve had some positive moments too!

Leanne x

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Fred & Bell is open!

Morning! I hope you’re all having a lovely Sunday.

I’m dropping in with a quick message to let you know my Etsy shop, Fred & Bell, is officially open! Wow, that feels really surreal!


Fred & Bell is open!


It’s been a busy old time, this week especially, and I’ve got lots to do today plus a whole heap of ideas for how to develop the shop further. You’ve got to start somewhere and today marks the start of a super exciting time for me.

In case you missed the last post, Fred & Bell is a UK sticker shop that sells high quality, functional stickers that are bright and colourful and will keep you happy and organised! I love stationery and I love being creative, so Fred & Bell is my chance to combine the two while learning more about business and marketing.

Pop over to the shop now – I hope you find something you like!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend. I’m hoping to stop to watch the Wimbledon final this afternoon. :)

Leanne x

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