Sunday 11 November 2012

7-day Half Price Sale!

The Pouch blog has been really neglected recently...this is due to the disruption caused by moving house! We're nearly packed and ready to go, so I've decided to run a 7-day Mega Sale. Next week I will have to temporarily close my online stores to move house. I wanted to offer my customers a chance to grab a fantastic bargain before I shut-up shop for the next few weeks.

Check out my Half Price Sale Section here

There are so many bargains available in my sale section and they all have a whopping 50% reduction taken off the original price.

Like this Reversible market day tote in chocolate and toffee brown, reduced from £25 to just £12.50!

And all my vintage fabric peg bags are now reduced from £16 to just £8

Half Price Sale Section here

Monday 24 September 2012

Free UK Shipping!

I'm not usually one to discuss Christmas shopping in September, but bear with me whilst I explain!

We're in the process of relocating homes and there is a good chance that we will move sometime around November or December. This means that, shock horror, I will have to close my online shops whilst we make the move and get ourselves settled and more importantly, reconnected to the internet!

So in a bid to encourage my lovely customers to buy their gifts early, I'm offering Free UK Shipping in my Etsy store. Please use the code POUCHUK at checkout.

Etsy coupon codes are a doddle to use, simply click "Apply shop coupon code" at checkout to open the field to enter the coupon code for your order. Etsy automatically apply the discount to your order, so you can sit back and wait for your goodies to arrive!

Etsy store

I'm also offering free shipping in my Folksy store too. This is slightly different as Folksy don't offer the option to use coupon codes. So if you purchase something and you're in the UK, I will refund your postage costs via Paypal.

Folksy store

Monday 10 September 2012

Hamilton House

We're currently in the process of relocating away from Bristol. There's certain things I will miss about living in such a vibrant location, one of them being the amazing community projects that crop up across the city.

One of the most ambitious is Hamilton House. Once upon a time it was an office block, now it is home to a vibrant community hub where artists, healers and musicians rub shoulders. We went to an open day a few months ago and it was hard to take in everything in just a short visit! There are courses and workshops, artists studios for hire, a whole floor dedicated to healing, a community kitchen, live music in the Canteen bar, and a regular Hamilton House Art name just a few things!

As it states on their website:

"Hamilton home to Coexist, where art, music, enterprise and innovation cluster as a community rising to the challenges of today and tomorrow. Hamilton House is a vibrant community hub on Stokes Croft in which people can coexist in harmony with themselves, with each other and the environment."

So if you're in the local area, then it's well worth a look. In fact it's a stones throw from Gloucester Road, which is one of the most amazing shopping streets you'll find in the whole city. I'm planning on making a return visit sometime soon. I may even take part in their volunteer program!

Sunday 5 August 2012

New listing: apple green lavener rabbit

There has been a serious lack of 'new listings' in my online stores recently. With all the stress of trying to move house and look after a lively toddler, I just don't have the time to get any sewing done. I'm starting to feel slightly 'cold turkey' about it all, my fabric is in the loft, my machine is in the loft and all signs of sewing mess have been cleared away to make our house look as pristine as possible.

So when a good friend of mine kindly gifted this amazing apple green vintage fabric to me, I had to get the scissors and thread out and make a new batch of rabbits! I adore the geometric pattern on this fabric and the colours just pop right out at you.

Lavender rabbit in apple green on Etsy

Lavender rabbit in apple green on Folksy

Friday 13 July 2012

Heartlands in Cornwall

Back in May we took a week long holiday in Cornwall and I've been meaning to blog about Heartlands ever since we returned!

Essentially Heartlands is an industrial museum with a twist - I think labelling anything as a 'museum' can often be a turn-off for people, so it's being marketed as Cornwall's "cultural playground". We saw a leaflet on the campsite we were staying on and the marketing material was so engaging and interesting, we had to go and have a look!

We were so bowled over by Heartlands, we can't stop telling everyone about it. We were very, very lucky that the sun chose to shine on us the day we went.

We started our visit with a picnic in the Diaspora gardens, they were full of plants from countries Cornish miners and their families migrated too. I had no idea so many people left Cornwall to work in mines as far flung as Australia, New Zealand, North and South America and South Africa. It's such a clever idea for a garden and it made a refreshing change from the usual cottage garden or twee bedding plants you often see in public gardens.

We then moved on to the artists studios and pottered about for a bit, everyone was really friendly and welcoming. I'm often reluctant to take my attention-span-of-a-flea toddler into places with crafts and art on display, but everyone working in their studios positively encourage us in. I particularly liked the crochet-covered bicycle propped up outside one of the studios.

Even though we'd had a picnic, we couldn't resist going into the Red River Cafe and indulged ourselves with a cream tea, there's always room for cream tea, isn't there? The cafe was smart but also reflected the industrial nature of the building - formerly the old Carpenter’s Workshop - the exposed beams and original machinery dotted about kept visitors in touch with the heritage of the place.

We then took a quick look in the World Heritage Site Exhibitions - with a toddler in tow, you can't really amble about reading all the information in-depth, but we were all drawn in by the enormous 270° film projection at the far end of the building. It was such a innovative way of conveying the Cornish story that we were completely enthralled, in fact my husband went back in to watch the film again...

And finally, we couldn't keep our daughter away from the enormous playground any longer. It was most definitely the highlight of the day, she loved every minute of it. Cleverly designed, built with robust materials and suitable for a large age range, I hope many more children get the chance to enjoy this place over the Summer holidays.

Friday 22 June 2012

House & Gardens press feature

I was really pleased to see the finished results of a photo shoot featuring my vintage trims in House & Garden Magazine this month.

To celebrate being featured in House & Garden, I am offering a 20% discount on all vintage trims in my Etsy store. You can see my full range of vintage trims here.

I love the way the trims have been styled, especially the corsage effect using my vintage scroll trim in mustard yellow and sage green in the second photo.

Crimson weave vintage fabric trim is placed around the waist of the mannequin in the above photo.

My vintage woven trim in oatmeal and apple green is around the waist of the mannequin in the second photo and the corsage/rosette on the hip features my vintage scroll trim in mustard yellow and sage green.

Sunday 3 June 2012

Jubilee discount code!

To celebrate the Diamond Jubilee I'm offering a 20% discount in my Etsy store, just use the code QUEEN60 at checkout!

To see my full range of products, please click here

Thursday 10 May 2012

Vintage love: Lucozade tote bag

I haven't had the chance to blog for a while. There are big changes afoot in the Pouch household, namely relocating to a new town. We've spent three weeks tidying our entire house in preparation for photos and viewings. I don't think I've ever done so much decluttering and housework. I've even ironed my pillowcases which is so unlike me, it really is. So right at this precise time I can do with all the energy I can lay my hands on - which leads me onto this vintage, oilcloth Lucozade tote bag.

I love this tote bag because it reminds me of being ill as a child! Lucozade was only available from pharmacists in the olden days and was always wrapped in bright orange cellophane - which always struck me as a bit odd. Whenever I had a sore throat or some other childhood illness, my mum would buy some Lucozade from the local chemist. It had a bit of an old fashioned image and was associated with being ill!

Then in 1983 the product was completely rebranded. Today Lucozade is associated with sport and fitness at a high level. The brand is often seen sponsoring major sporting events - they are currently an official sponsor of the 2012 London Olympics. What's so amazing about the rebranding, is the product is still the same, but people's perceptions of it couldn't be more different to the 'orange cellophane' days. You can read about the rebranding here.

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 23 April 2012

New colourway! amber and chocolate

I've just listed these lovelies in my Etsy and Folksy stores, a brand new colourway - amber and chocolate!

Made with vintage fabric in my absolute favourite colour combination, brown and orange - it's the two colours that scream 'vintage' whenever I'm sourcing new fabric. I think most of my clothes were brown in the 70s and I remember asking my Mum when I was little, 'why is everything in our house brown mummy?' and the answer I got was 'because it's fashionable'!

This gorgeous fabric came my way via Sally at Tinkering Textiles, also something of a vintage fabric aficionado!

Hope you like them! Lavender rabbit in amber and chocolate

Saturday 14 April 2012

Short Story

I don't normally put short stories on my blog, but I make an exception for this one! This is a story I wrote when I was 14. My Gran recently found a typed out copy and gave it to me. I had completely forgotten that I'd written it. It's funny that my Gran should find it in 2012 and I've been waiting until 14th April to put it on my blog...can't say why, you'll have to read it to find out...

"One last look round my house. Window all shut and locked, the keys left for Mrs Smith. Mrs Smith will be in tomorrow to clean, I’d better leave a note to tell her which key is for what. She usually gets confused. Paper … and pen, better make it brief.

Dear Mrs Smith, The large key is for the front door and the silver one for the back. I’ll leave you just this one key for a window as I don’t think you’ll want to open them all. I’ll write to you on my holiday and tell you what the boat is like. Best wishes. Mary

I’d better change into my travelling clothes. The carpet on these stairs looks more worn every time I go up them. The bedroom looks bare now those big trunks have been sent on to Southampton. One outfit left in my wardrobe. My second best dress, not too hot and not too cool is what the steward said was best for travelling. The material feels warm and soft. I won’t be seeing this room for a while. How could I refuse the chance to go to America, a chance of a lifetime.

That must be my taxi. I move to the window, yes it is. I grab my small holdall and my purse full of shillings. I pick up my skirts and run down the stairs. Very unladylike my mother would say. I don’t care, I’m excited. Running down the path, looking at the flowers, it will be cold over the Atlantic, make the most of the Spring sunshine.

This is a nice neighbourhood, large houses. Quite a few people with cars now. I can’t afford one; they look like a menace to me. But maybe it’s because I was brought up with a mother with antiquated ideas. Miss her now she’s dead. But the money from her will, I’ve put to some good use. Travel. That’s what I was told to do, and now I am.

The cab is well polished and the driver is cheerful. I run my hand over the cab door, it feels cool. I will miss London. I don’t have to go, I can turn back, not too late. Stop it, pull yourself together, can’t miss a chance like this. I watch the houses whizz by from the taxi. I can’t help this fear in the back of my head like a black feeling of death.

We’re at the docks now. The bustle is different here to London. People are more friendly, calling to each other. Cranes lifting the goods off the boats – fish, cotton and wood – brought from exotic countries. I imagine the silks from India, the hot sun, ornate buildings and elephants.

There is a crowd gathering around a boat which is unloading. A crane is lifting a crate with an elephant in it. The crowd laugh at its frenzied antics but all I can notice is its wide terrified eye. My heart goes out to the poor creature. It should be in the hot sun of India that I was dreaming of, just like that elephant probably is. I can’t bear to watch, and the fear of death crowds in on my again.

I decide to look round more. All is bustling in a shed where fish is being sorted. White crates with thousands of different kinds in them. Greys, pinks and greens shine in the morning sun. There is a particular fish that attracts my eye – a silver grey back with all the colours of the rainbow on its belly. I’m fascinated by it yet disgusted by its wide unseeing eye that stares at me. Fishermen slosh ice and water over the fish so I move out of the way quickly. I should really look for my ship. I am so excited but so reluctant to go. Walking down one of the aisles that divide the boxes of fish, I marvel again at just how many types there are. I might see some in their natural environment while sailing, swimming through the shining, blue sea – happy but most importantly – alive. Maybe I feel more than others, but I am sensitive about cruelty. My mother always said I was soft and I can’t help rushing out of this mortuary.

The sun it hotter now as it is nearing midday. I breathe in the fresh air and can hear the faint sounds of a brass band somewhere in the distance. I decide to head off in that direction. As I near the noise, the full force of the celebration hits me. Bunting and streamers colour the blue sky. A brass band is playing and people are dancing, laughing and drinking around me. I am engulfed by people. I am jostled to the centre where there is a table of food and punch. Lots of people are together and I feel a pang of loneliness standing there on my own. The food looks lovely, so I drown my sorrows in some punch.

I can’t help laughing at the children running around with streamers and am brought back to earth with a bump when someone taps me on the shoulder. I turn to see a woman holding a reporter’s notebook and a man in tow holding a camera.

“Hello, we’re from the Southampton Gazette. Are you a passenger? Can we ask you a few questions?”

Without waiting for a reply, she carried on. I answer politely but am too busy concentrating on the people moving towards the ship. It must be time to board.

“How does it feel to be one of the lucky ones, to be able to be on this marvellous ship’s maiden voyage?”

“Really good. I must go. Everyone’s getting on,” I reply, trying not to be rude.

I make my way through the cheering crowd and people immediately let me through when I tell them I’m a passenger, calling after me to have a safe journey.

At the foot of the gangplank I stop to look in awe at the majestic ship. It really is amazing, and the flags and flowers decorating accentuating its majestic qualities. People are already lining the balconies waving frantically to the people on the dockside. I move quickly up the gangplank so that I can find a place to stand. Glancing sideways, I notice the name written in gold letters, ‘H.M.S. Titanic’ ––– This is going to be a really good trip ………."

Friday 30 March 2012

Vintage love: bathing costume and heels

I love this photo because it captures a time when people really made an effort with their clothes. You don't see many people wearing heels to the swimming pool and with their hair carefully coiffered - it looks like there's not much chance of that hair-do getting wet! But the main reason I love this photo is because the lady perched on the diving board is my late-Grandmother.

I have always loved looking at my Gran's collection of black and white photos, she always looked so glamorous. And yet you would never believe that she came from a very poor mining family from the Rhondda valley in Wales.

This photo is taken in the Tropicana on the seafront at Weston-super-Mare in 1938, you can see the Grand Atlantic hotel in the background. The Tropicana was a new swimming pool, with an elaborate diving board, which opened on the seafront at Weston in 1937. You can see the diving board in all it's glory here. A trip to Weston was seen as heaven to my Gran and her sister, a break from the grim mining towns of South Wales and a chance to relax and get glammed up.

My Gran had very little money, but she would adapt and alter clothes to add a bit of extra fizz. She also spent ages on her hair and always wore lipstick. As a young woman she had to leave home and move to London to get a job and I think this time in the capital got her interested in fashion. Whenever she returned to see her family in Wales she had the slight air of the film star about her. Although her family gently teased her new glamorous ways - when she returned home wearing a particularly jaunty hat, her Father remarked "where's the carnival?".

This photo is so optimistic because it was taken in peace time between the wars and after much suffering in the Great Depression of the 1920s. A few years later, it was a very different story, my Gran joined the WAAF and rather than following fashions in London, she was dodging bombs and moving around the country to various grim postings in old country houses as part of her war work.

I also love this photo as I am a Weston girl born and bred and I visited the Tropicana as a child in its 1980s reincarnation. It is also an important snapshot of an endangered building. There are plans to demolish this historical art deco construction and many people are very unhappy about it, there is currently and online campaign to save the Tropicana. The site has remained unoccupied since 2000 and it seems such a waste of a perfectly usuable space. I think it would be amazing if it could be restored to its 1937 glory as seen in my Gran's photo.

Monday 12 March 2012

New eco friendly packaging

I've recently taken delivery of my new mailing bags - they are made from Biothene and are 100% biodegradable. I've always resisted using plastic mailing bags because I thought they weren't great for the environment. Before I had my daughter, when I had more time on my hands, I used to recycled old bubble mailers. It was something I enjoyed doing and many of my customers commented on how much they liked the revamped envelopes. Now that I simply don't have the time to repurpose bubble mailers, I wanted to look for an alternative which fitted in with Pouch's eco ethos. I feel that the Biothene mailers are just right for Pouch: they biodegrade, they take less energy to make than paper envelopes and the bags degrade into a non-toxic residue. Oh, and they are pink :)

Monday 5 March 2012

New listings - vintage trims

I have been on a marathon listing session over past few days! I've added lots of lovely vintage trims to my Etsy store. There are tons of different styles and patterns and colourways - so something for everyone. You can see the full selection here

vintage woven trim in dusky pink, apple green and cream vintage woven trim in khaki and olive green

Monday 20 February 2012

My first magazine tutorial!

I've just received a copy of the latest issue of the Handmade Living magazine and if I turn to page 78 I can see my first ever published tutorial!

It's for a Pouch foldaway market tote. This handy tote folds away into it's own pocket. Perfect for storing in your purse for spontaneous shopping sprees!

It's lovely to see it in print and I'm really pleased because they have asked me to design another item to be published as a tutorial later on in the year...

Unfortunately the pattern for the market tote was left out at publication stage. The editor of Handmade Living has added it to the Errata section of their blog. I have also included it here too.

Monday 30 January 2012

Five years of selling on Etsy

I know it's a cliche when people say 'time flies' but it really does. I can't believe its been five years since I first opened my Etsy store...that's half a decade! So much has happened in those five years, I think my shop is unrecognizable from the shop I opened in 2007 - I hope its improved for the better. I feel like I've learnt so much about selling online and 2012 brings the opportunity to see my work published in a national magazine (details coming soon). I'm hoping to branch out into publishing tutorials online and in magazines, I see it as an exciting a new direction for Pouch.

To return to my five year anniversary, I'd like to celebrate by offering £5 off all my vintage fabric cushion covers - so that's £25 down to £20.

Friday 20 January 2012

Upcycled fabric heart brooch tutorial

As seen on

I have an ever-expanding collection of vintage fabric and denim scraps left over from making things for Pouch. I came up with the idea for these pretty little heart brooches a while ago. I thought I would share them as a crafty tutorial.

They make a great gift for valentines. Or you could make one for yourself to brighten up a jacket or cardigan. Alternatively you could make a batch of them to use as favors at an eco-themed wedding. When I have some spare time, I make a selection of these brooches and pop them in my customer’s parcels as an extra free gift. They are simple to make and you can use any colour combination of fabric and felt – the variations are endless!

You will need:

Patterned fabric scraps (lightweight fabric with a small pattern is best. I use upcycled scraps of pillowcases and bed sheets left over from making peg bags and lavender hearts.

Denim scraps (heavyweight denim is better).


Fabric glue (something like this PVA glue is best )

Brooch backs (or small safety pin)

Pinking Shears

Heart templates (these can be found at the end of the tutorial. I have drawn them onto an A4 sheet of paper, so if you print them out at 100%, you should get the same sizes as I used for my own heart brooches)

1) First cut out the three hearts needed for the brooch. Cut the felt and denim heart out with pinking shears and cut the patterned fabric out with normal straight-edged fabric scissors. I use pinking shears to cut out the felt and denim heart. This isn’t essential, but I do like the effect pinking shears have on the felt. Even though the denim heart wont be seen because it is at the back, I still like to cut the denim with pinking shears to minimise fraying.

2) Pin the patterned fabric to the felt heart. Carefully sew around the edge. I use a conventional straight stitch, but if you were feeling ambitious you could use a tiny blanket stitch. The easiest and quickest would be a simple running stitch around the heart. My personal preference is the straight stitch photographed below.

3) Sew the brooch back onto the denim heart.

4) Once the fabric heart is sewn onto the felt and the brooch back is attached to the denim heart, you need to glue the two components together. Cover the wrong side (WS) of the denim heart with your choice of fabric glue and carefully place in the centre of the WS of the felt heart. Press together firmly. I like to use fabric glue rather than sewing the two parts together because once the glue is dry it adds more rigidity to the brooch.

5) Place fabric heart side downwards on a suitable surface like a tray and leave the glue to dry, preferably overnight.

You can make any number of variations, such as bigger hearts or adding the odd vintage button or two – I would love to hear any other ideas you may have!

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I also sell a range of handmade goodies, including vintage fabric cushion covers, lavender filled rabbits and owls and a gorgeous range of vintage trims see my work here

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