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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Monday 16 January 2012

Vintage love: children's books

I am constantly amazed at the things my mum has kept from our childhood days. She recently asked if my own daughter would 'like to read any of these' - as soon as I saw this collection of children's books I was flooded with memories of reading them as a child. They were my favourites and I must have read them over and over again.

Any child of the 80s will recognise these books! In fact if you are a child of the 80s, you'll love this website

I love a bit of nostalgia, so couldn't resist sharing them with you!

Play School

Babar the Elephant
Munch Bunch
The Wombles
And finally the Berenstain Bears

Friday 6 January 2012

New Years Resolution: decluttering

I'm not keen on making loads of New Years Resolutions which fall by the wayside come the end of January. One I am planning on sticking to is making an attempt to declutter our house.

This plastic jug pictured above just about sums up my problem. It sits tucked away under my toilet cistern, in our bathroom. Everytime a toothbrush gets too worn out to be used on our teeth, I put it in the jug where it might 'come in handy' for something. My husband thinks I'm mad, but tolerates these things. Whilst I am not a hoarder on this type of scale, I do hate to throw things out. The thought of all the waste making it's way to landfill in this country alone on a daily basis makes me shudder.

Kerbside recycling has improved dramatically over the past few years and we can easily put out paper, cardboard, certain plastics, food waste and garden waste to be picked up from our doorsteps. I'm also keen on passing on sellable things and regularly fill bags for charity. We've also used Freecycle on many occasions and I think it's a fantastic site and must help to prevent more waste going to landfill. We've passed on old TVs, a stereo, old toys, plant pots, boxes of tiles and even a double mattress. The fact that someone is willing to collect from your house is fantastic. I think since we've lived in our current house, we've been to the local rubbish dump about 5 times over 5 years, which is pretty good going and I think Freecycle has been a big help in keeping those trips to the dump to a minimum.

But what about the jug of toothbrushes? There are just some things that don't fit into the kerbside collections and noone would want these in a charity shop and I think they are even beyond Freecyclers, yet I can't bring myself to chuck them in the bin...I know one of the golden rules on recycling is not to buy items in the first place if you can possibly help it, which is something I try to stick to, but as far as toothbrushes go, I don't want to lose my teeth, so I'm going to keep on brushing them. Which leaves the problem of what to do with the old brushes.

And there are lots of other household items that fall into that category, video tapes, old CDs, wine bottle corks, plastic spoons...the list goes on.

Which is why am I so glad I stumbled across this website when trying to find ways to recycle my growing collection of toothbrushes.

How can I recycle this? is a fantastic source of ideas for all those hard to recycle items. It's run by two people who were in exactly the same position as I am now when faced with waste which could be reused if only they knew how. The site works by taking suggestions for items to be reused, then it's up to the good people of the internet to post their suggestions underneath said item. The site also likes to promote people's clever, interesting and creative ideas for recycling something.

A quick search of the site throws up this post on "How can I reuse or recycle … old toothbrushes?". There are some interesting suggestions, including using a Terradent toothbrush, which helps to eliminate the need to keep buying new toothbrushes in the first place. Apart from toothbrushes there are so many other clever ideas, in fact the site has over 14,000 suggestions for a plethora of items. It's definitely a site I will be bookmarking for later use!


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