Monday 19 December 2011

Handmade Christmas Gifts

My Auntie is a fab knitter and we've been really lucky to receive lots of lovely presents from her over the past few years. We had a knitted bride and groom for our wedding...and lots of knitted animals when our daughter was born - you can see all her hard work here

This year was no exception - she kindly knitted our daughter a gaggle of Father Christmasses and a snowman. They are so cute and my daughter loves them! They've all had a trip round the house in the pushchair - an honour usually only offered to her Peppa Pig toy :)

My online stores will be closed from 20th December through to 27th December whilst we spend time with my husband's family over the holiday period. This will probably be my last blog post before Christmas, so I would like to wish all my customers and blog readers a very merry Christmas!

Monday 12 December 2011

Charity at Christmas

It's so easy to get caught up in shopping, decorating and planning for our own family Christmasses that we forget people who are much, much less fortunate than ourselves. I read about this clever idea in my local newspaper and wanted to share it on my blog.

It's such a simple idea, yet since StreetSmart was established in 1998, it has raised over £4.7million for the homeless. Basically, you eat in a participating restaurant (there are lots all across the UK) and a voluntary £1 donation is added to your bill. A 100% of that £1 goes to homeless charities.

In my home city of Bristol there are over 12 restaurants taking part and the funds raised will go to help charities such as Bristol Soup Run Trust, Caring at Christmas and One 25.

So, whilst many of us are out celebrating, the StreetSmart campaign reminds us how important and how easy it can be to give a little bit back to charity at Christmas.

Friday 25 November 2011

Warm Spice Owl Giveaway

This giveaway is now closed - many thanks to everyone who took part!

This is a festive twist on my popular range of lavender owls. Instead of the usual floral aroma, this owl is filled with my own delicious blend of star anise, cinnamon and cloves. It brings a truly festive scent into your home!

This giveaway will run for two weeks and the lucky winner will win one warm spice vintage fabric owl in buttercup and chestnut. Full details of the competition and how to enter are listed below. Good Luck!

How to enter:

mandatory - Please visit my Etsy store and leave a comment below telling me which is your favourite item.

three additional ways to enter:

1. Become a follower of my blog. Leave a comment and let me know that you're new.

2. Tweet this giveaway: @pouchbags Warm Spice Owl Giveaway:

3. Become a fan of Pouch on Facebook:

**If you enter this giveaway, please state clearly your email address, OR your Facebook/Twitter/Etsy username, so I can contact you in case you win**

The giveaway runs from Friday November 25th through to midnight (GMT) Friday 9th December. I will pick a winner at random, and announce the winner on December 12th 2011. Please note: This competition is open to worldwide entries, but if you live in Australia, I will not be able to send a scented owl due to strict custom restrictions. I will be happy to send an unscented version.

**Shop news!** I am also offering free worldwide shipping on all items in my Etsy store for 7 days, starting from Cyber monday and ending on 5th December. Please use coupon code CYBER2011 at checkout!

Monday 21 November 2011

Vintage love: fabric finds for November

I have been behaving myself recently and I have not given in to my addiction. I haven't bought any vintage fabric for, well, at least four weeks, maybe even five...

But I just had to buy this floral fabric, it's just the stuff I like to use to make my lavender owls and rabbits. I find it has the perfect texture and thickness for making my plush animals. I can't wait to get snipping and making with this lovely lot. It will have to be in 2012 though as I am pretty busy with Christmas orders at the moment!

The other 'zig zag' fabric was given to me as a gift. After doing a bit of googling, it turns out that this Margo International fabric designed by Anna Caldwell dates from 1972. I've found a link to some of her work here, her "Brix" fabric won a Design Council Award in 1975. So, I am very happy that it was gifted to me! I'm not sure what to make with it yet. It is lovely and thick with a nice weave to the fabric.

Saturday 12 November 2011

20% off all vintage trims

Right now I am offering 20% off all trims in my Etsy and Folksy stores. This is a perfect time to stock up on some beautiful fabric trims for your next crafting project. They come in all colours of the rainbow and many are incredibly intricate and highly collectable. A must-have for all you vintage fans! Hurry over, due to the fact these trims are vintage, they are all strictly limited edition, once they are gone...I can't source more!

Monday 7 November 2011

Vintage fabric Rudolf decorations

Now that Halloween and Bonfire Night are safely out of the way, it's time to start thinking about Christmas...after all it's only 7 weeks away!!

So on that festive note, I'd like to introduce you to my latest creation - vintage fabric Rudolf decorations. Handmade with vintage fabric in shades of amber orange, chocolate brown, pure white and jet black. He's filled with non-allergenic stuffing and has wool felt detailing in shades of chocolate and toffee brown. His look is completed with a bright red button nose.

I currently have two versions for sale, one is unscented and the other contains a delicious combination of dried star anise, cinnamon and cloves. I have had lots of fun making the latter as the scent is just amazing.

So far, I have had lots of fabulous feedback for Rudolf from crafting friends and most recently he was featured on the popular Craft Gossip blog, the Cuteable blog and of the UK Handmade Facebook page, which gained lots of thumbs up from their readers!

Also, if you are quick, there is a chance to win one on the popular Bugs and Fishes blog.

I just wanted to add, I made two versions partly because not everyone will like the festive spice mix, everyone has different tastes! But also because certain countries do not allow dried plant products to be imported into their country, most notably Australia has very strict laws relating to this. So the unscented version is available for worldwide shipping and the scented version is for United Kingdom and Europe only.

They are available in both my Etsy and Folksy stores.

Wednesday 2 November 2011

UK Handmade is 3 this Winter!

UK Handmade is 3 this Winter! We’ve come such a long way since we first embarked upon this journey, walking a unique path with the support and collaboration of some great talent.

The Winter issue of UK Handmade Magazine is our special 3rd Birthday edition where you can find out how UK Handmade came to be. It's live and ready to read online HERE (click on the enlarge button to the bottom left to read it full screen) or support UK Handmade by buying the PDF download here.

So why not join us in putting on the kettle, grabbing a comfy seat and celebrating 3 years of UK Handmade goodness.

Visit UK Handmade at:

Monday 17 October 2011

vintage love: Clothkits puppets

I love these vintage handmade puppets, not just because they are bright and well designed, but because my Mum made them for me and my brother to play with. I am a pretty sentimental person, and these puppets bring back lots of happy memories, particularly of my Mum sewing at the dining table. They are designed by Clothkits and date from late early 1980s. Clothkits was a big part of our childhood, my Mum regularly ordered kits to make clothes for herself and for me. I remember the pre-printed fabric arriving through the post, my Mum would pour over the instructions and then the sewing machine came out...

Alongside clothes, Clothkits also made toys. This set of four puppets features a lion, an elephant, a tiger and a clown. They are bright and chunky and really appeal to small children. So much so that my brother's daughter regularly performs puppet shows at Grandma's house. Now I have my own daughter, she has also grown to love these puppets, either playing with them herself or watching one of the many shows performed by her cousin. My brother's daughter has had us all in stitches with her stories, which mainly revolve around the fact the lion cannot be King of the Jungle because he is wearing a vest. Its amazing how much fun children can have with four simple puppets and lots of imagination...

Clothkits is such a brilliant business model, as it says on their website:

"well designed clothes without the fuss of paper patterns. All the cutting lines are printed directly on the fabric in a simple format that means even the inexperienced can make garments with ease."

I'm so glad the company has had something of a revival since 2008, it would a shame to lose a business that plays such an important part in my generation's memories. They even have a lovely collection of archive photos uploaded by members of the public on their website. It's worth having a look to see if you recognise anything you wore as a child!

And with the growing popularity of 'make do and mend' and sewing in general, a whole new generation of people are falling in love with the company.

Monday 3 October 2011

self-sufficientish 2011

Every year I blog about my attempts at being 'self-sufficientish', originally inspired by this website, it's basically an attempt to grow as much food at home as possible, eat seasonally and save some money too!

2011 as by far been our best year for homegrown food, thanks mainly to my Mum and brother taking on an allotment. I must admit, I was sceptical at first thinking they would have no time to maintain it properly and all they would harvest was a variety of weeds. But I've been proven wrong. My Mum has barely been able to keep up with the produce that has been bursting out of the soil. My mum and brother can't dedicate all their time to the allotment, an evening here, a Sunday afternoon there, but what they have planted has grown like mad. Every week my mum has bought us a bag of goodies, ranging from potatoes, onions, courgettes, cucumbers, the best strawberries I've ever tasted, massive blackberries, tons of runner beans, one or two celeriac, a handful of my brother's precious peas, and the most amazing garlic.

In fact we even managed to have a 'no supermarket' meal, which is a first in this house. In August we had an amazing Spanish omelette made from eggs from our friend's chickens, potatoes, onion and courgette from my mum's allotment, tomatoes and herbs from my own garden and it was absolutely delicious. We are all so reliant on supermarkets these days, that it was nice to have one meal where we hadn't had to hand over a single penny to one of them!

I'm also a convert to 'fridge pickle' I know it doesn't look like much, but believe me, it's very tasty. Basically my Mum had a glut of onions and cucumbers, so she went online to find some recipes and found whole websites devoted to using up gluts produced by allotment produce, which is handy! To see the full recipe, please visit this very useful website

I can honestly say we have never eaten so well as we have done this Summer, the produce has been organic and seasonal, extremely tasty and taken minimal cost to produce. We've also enjoyed seeing our young daughter eat such lovely, fresh food. If you get the opportunity, I would wholeheartedly recommend signing up for an allotment, my mum and brother are now complete converts and are already planning crops for the Winter and next year!

***blog giveaway winner - many thanks to everyone who took part in my Autumn giveaway - the lucky winner picked at random is...JillHogan. A selection of vintage trims will be winging their way to her soon***

Friday 23 September 2011

Autumn blog giveaway: vintage trims

The Summer months are now behind us and Autumn is well and truly on its way. The leaves are starting to change colour and pretty soon there will be a riot of rich Autumnal colours everywhere. So in the spirit of all things Autumn, I am giving away a lovely selection of vintage trims in shades of yellow and orange.

Up for grabs is a bundle of vintage trims containing:
1 yard of vintage woven trim in golden yellow and oatmeal
1 yard of vintage woven trim in pumpkin and lemon
1 yard of vintage woven trim in terracotta and chocolate brown
1 yard vintage scroll trim in mustard yellow and sage green

How to enter:

mandatory - Please visit my Etsy store and leave a comment below telling me which is your favourite item.

two additional ways to enter:
1. Become a follower of my blog. Leave a comment and let me know that you're new.
2. Tweet this giveaway:
@pouchbags Autumn blog giveaway:

**If you enter this giveaway, please state clearly your email address, OR your Facebook/Twitter/Etsy username, so I can contact you in case you win**

The giveaway is open to everyone in the world. The giveaway runs from Friday September 23rd through to midnight (GMT) Friday 30th September. This competition is open to worldwide entries. I will pick a winner at random, and announce the winner on October 3rd 2011.

Also, I am currently having a sale! Up to 40% off original prices. Check out my sale section
for more details.

Friday 16 September 2011

New for 2011: vintage fabric cushion covers

Back in April, I sourced a fantastic selection of vintage fabric. It's been calling out to be made into retro cushion covers ever since it arrived at my house. I have spent the Summer months creating a new range for Pouch and they are now live in my Etsy and Folksy stores!

I am so pleased with the way they have turned out, the colours really pop. They make a fab addition to any vintage-addicts house! Due to the fact we use vintage fabric, these cushion covers are limited edition, once the fabric has gone, we can't make more!

I currently have six colourways for sale, they are:
vintage fabric cushion cover in buttercup and chestnut
vintage fabric cushion cover in mauve and purple
vintage fabric cushion cover in turquoise and cobalt blue
vintage fabric cushion cover in plum purple
vintage fabric cushion cover in turquoise and midnight blue
vintage fabric cushion cover in jade and scarlet

To view the full range, please visit my Etsy and Folksy stores!

Wednesday 7 September 2011

Autumn Sale

I am currently having a huge Autumn sale in my Etsy store. There are reductions of up to 40% on my vintage fabric bags. There is also 20% off all peg bags. This is a great opportunity to grab an eco friendly present for the festive season. Take a peek at my sale section here.

Tuesday 30 August 2011

Vintage love: Taunton Vale Ceramics

I can't believe it has taken me this long to get around to blogging about my beloved Taunton Vale ceramic storage jars. I bought them about eight years ago at a jumble sale and I absolutely love them. They cost me £1 for all three which I think by anyone's standards is a bargain.

I think I love them because they have the most quintessential retro pattern on them, big, bold flowers in bright colours, I can't get enough of them. They are also really tactile with lovely bulbous lids which I love to take on and off (vintage geek that I am).

They sit pride of place in my kitchen. I don't use them for storage, just for display. I like to think of them as my retirement fund and hope they will have increased in value from £1 to who knows how much in a few years time...

If you'd like to see more retro goodies, head on over to my "Vintage Finds" board over on Pinterest...

Follow Pouch : blogging + craft's board My Vintage Finds on Pinterest.

Monday 15 August 2011

Vintage trims

I've been adding a lovely selection of trims in the vintage supplies section of my etsy store.

The trim featured above is a gorgeous geometric trim in sky blue and oatmeal which is 2" wide and sold by the yard.

Next up is a vintage amber and gold trim which is sold in 4 yard bundles.

I have also listed two vintage trims in warmer, earthy tones. The first is vintage cubes trim in lemon and cocoa. And finally, a striking woven trim in terracotta and chocolate brown. Both are sold in 4 yard bundles.

Monday 25 July 2011

Vintage love: brass letterbox

I'm not quite sure when this brass letterbox dates from - it may even be antique - I think it at least dates from the 1920s or 1930s...

I am a big fan of fonts, I love examples of old fashioned typefaces, so this letterbox ticks lots of boxes for me. I currently live in a modern house so it would look out of place on our UPVC door. But it would be perfect in a chunky wooden door on the front of a large Victorian property...maybe one day I will get the house and door to fit around my letterbox!!

I mainly use it as a weight when I am cutting fabric out, it stops the larger pieces sliding onto the floor once I've chopped into it. Plus, it's perfect for propping open the lid of my seventy year old vintage trunk. It's packed to the brim with vintage fabric, I use it nearly everyday, but the lid no longer stays open and if I'm not careful it will fall on my head and put me in hospital! This letterbox is just the right shape and weight to hold the lid open so I can rummage for fabric in safety.

Thursday 14 July 2011

New additions

I have recently added two new market totes to my online store. I love these bags, they are so sturdy and useful. Based on the design of a carrier bag, they are designed to be held in your hand or slung over the lower part of your arm whilst out shopping. They make the perfect (and more attractive) alternative to plastic carrier bags.

Made in fab vintage fabric, these two workhorses come in chestnut brown and chocolate and toffee brown.

Not only are they perfect for shopping sprees, they make great knitting bags, book bags, gym bags, you can cram virtually anything into these handy totes.


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