Friday, 17 November 2017

Summer memories - London visit

Yikes ... blogging ... always one of those things that I push to the side and forget about ... in fact so forget about that my post is taking us way, way back to the Summer.  It suddenly dawned on me this afternoon, as I was re-tracing my steps looking for my house keys that had jumped out of my pocket when walking Poppy, that I haven't blogged about a short break visiting the capital with Paul and although it is a distant memory, it is indeed a lovely distant memory.

Our previous visit to London had seen us pounding the streets continuously for two days - we walked so much that Paul was physically exhausted for a number of days afterwards!  This time we pledged not to walk so much and although we endeavoured to keep to this, Paul still managed to clock up a very large number of steps on his Fitbit.
Fantastic views from the cable car  ~~  ~~  refreshing cocktails at Las Iguanas.

An impromptu visit to see Dunkirk at the O2 cinema was superb, and we couldn't believe how quick our underground journey home was afterwards.  Before this we'd taken the Emirates cable car over the Thames from Greenwich to Royal Victoria Dock and spent the afternoon lounging in the sun on the decks of the roof bar of the floating Good Hotel, drinking beer and watching the planes take off from the City Airport.  We had a quick cable car ride back to the O2 and a rather expensive but delicious evening meal at Las Iguanas before sinking into comfy seats to watch the film.

















Liberty - where else!

The following day we were here, there and everywhere, walking the streets of the West End and finding hidden eateries and coffee bars in all sorts of places.  An inspirational wander through Liberty, slowing the pace considerably through the haberdashery department, then lunch at The Lamb and Flag behind Oxford Street.  We stopped off at The Japan Centre, Piccadilly to pick up some cute goodies and nibbles for the kids before tootling off to discover a superb restaurant, Thai Square, with a very reasonable pre-Theatre menu for our evening meal.



















The Royal Arcade, Old Bond Street ~~ a flurry of blue paper birds and stunning architecture.

Our final, very wet day saw us heading off towards Kings Cross station with Paul mentioning the
British Library as a possible "get out of the rain" destination.  A truly amazing place, and one I'd never known about - full of interesting documents and beautifully decorated manuscripts.  The perfect end to our mini break.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

"Just a Card Day"

Today is a special day for those that support the "Just A Card" campaign.  Set up by artist and designer Sarah Hamilton, the campaign helps to promote awareness of supporting small creative businesses.  The campaign got its name when Sarah saw a quote by store keepers at a gallery that had sadly had to close - "if everyone who'd complimented our beautiful gallery had bought "just a card" we'd still be open". 

Many people who browse the work of independent artists and designers perhaps haven't thought about the amount of time, energy and cost that goes into producing their unique creations. On top of this there are also fees to exhibit their goods, whether in a gallery, fair, shop or online.  For me, every sale, however small, that I receive has not only helped me financially but has boosted my confidence to stay on my creative path.  Each sale whispers that someone believes in me and my work and this belief encourages me to continue to design and sew new items for Ellie's Treasures

By supporting independent small business, you will not only be putting a smile of appreciation on the face of the seller but also on the face of the receiver as they realise they have not only purchased something special, they have also helped to strengthen the community of unique small business owners and independent artists and makers.

If you would like to support "Just A Card" please click the logo at the side of my blog for more information.  You can also following "Just A Card" on instagram and twitter.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Summer Etsy Makers Market - this weekend

The Summer Etsy Makers Market on Facebook is nearly here!  Starting 8pm on Friday, 16th June and running all through the weekend until 10pm Sunday 18th June, visitors will have plenty of time to choose and select any items they are keen to buy.

There's a vast array of selected Etsy shop owners taking part, each selling beautiful, unique items.  Many will be offering a discount too (the exclusive discount code to use at Etsy checkout will be available once the market opens on Friday).

Have a sneak peak at the some of the shop items available through this link or view the video below (you'll need Adobe Flash enabled (available free) to watch).




Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Magazine feature and other exciting things

Ellie's Treasures has had a couple of very exciting months.

Firstly, I have knuckled down to design a new logo for the shop. I'm really pleased with its simple clean look and have started adding it to the shop fronts, social media sites and very soon, to my business stationery.  The hand drawn cotton reel and heart have been on my business cards for a year or two now and I did wonder whether to update it.  I'm one for nostalgia and when I look at it, it brings back memories of when I first came up with the idea, so I think for now I'll keep it!


Second, Ellie's Treasures has been accepted to host a stall at the wonderful Deepale Christmas Market, Burnham Deepdale, Norfolk.  Over the moon is an understatement - just hope it won't turn to over-whelmed as times draws closer!  Said to be "one of East Anglia's best seasonal markets" I'm looking forward to being part of the chosen community of artisans and have lots of new charms on order to boost stock levels ready for the three day event (commencing Friday, 1st December 2017).




My third exciting item of news is that Let's Knit approached me asking to feature one of my knitting themed brooches in their magazine.  I felt so proud to see my little item in the pages of the June edition and it has really boosted the popularity of my knitting themed items (so much so the wool and needles goodies have been flying off to new owners so quickly I'm awaiting new charm ready to replenish stock!).




And finally the fourth item of news - Ellie's Treasures will be taking part in the Summer Etsy Makers Market which will take place on Facebook over the weekend commencing Friday, 16th June, 2017 (from 8pm).  The Spring Makers Market was a huge success for many of the featured sellers.  It's a great opportunity to see a mixed showcase of exciting handmade items in one place online, with helpful management to assist with sales, friendly shop owners and usually a little discount thrown in!  Do hope you'll drop by to support us.



Enjoy the sun and warmer weather - lots of tea and cake in the garden opportunities (not to mention barbecues of course!).






Thursday, 11 May 2017

Blueberry and lemon tray bake

This delicious cake is a lovely twist on the lemon drizzle that seems to be a favourite in our family.  The original recipe, from the Tesco magazine, included thyme in the cake and maple syrup was added to the topping.  I used thyme in my first attempt and it was a nice addition however I wouldn't say it was a necessity.  I also used half the amount of topping that was in the original recipe (minus the maple syrup) - it just seemed far too much and even cutting the quantity by half gave me some left overs which are absolutely gorgeous mixed with flavoured or natural Greek yogurt.

The tray bake serves 12





200g unsalted butter or baking margarine
200g caster sugar
4 eggs
200g self raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp thyme leaves (if using)
50g ground almonds
75g Greek natural yogurt

250g blueberries
1 lemon, juiced
1 tbsp caster sugar
2 tsp cornflour

50g unsalted butter or baking margarine
100g icing sugar

Set oven to gas 4, 180 deg. C (160 deg C fan oven), grease and line a 20cm square cake tin with nonstick baking paper.

In a large bowl, beat the butter/margarine and caster sugar with a wooden spoon until soft and combined, then add the eggs, one at a time, together with 1 tbsp of self raising flour per egg, beating well.  Using a metal spoon carefully fold in the remaining flour and baking powder then stir in the lemon zest (and thyme if using), lemon juice, almonds and yogurt, ensuring ingredients are well mixed.  Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake for 60-75 minutes until a knife inserted into the cake comes out clean.  Leave to cool in the tin on a wire try for about 10 minutes and then poke holes in the top of the cake with the handle of a wooden spoon ensuring you go about 1/2 to 3/4 deep into the cake each time.

Whilst the cake is baking add the blueberries, lemon juice and caster sugar to a pan and gently bring it to a simmer, partly covered, and cook for 4 minutes.  Mix a little water with the cornflour, stir to make a runny paste and add to the pan cooking for a further 2 minutes.  Remove from the heat and cool. When ready, spoon about 3/4 the blueberry mix over the cake, making sure the mix runs into the holes.  Leave the cake in the tin and cool for a further hour, then remove from the tin to continue to cool completely.

Beat the butter/margarine and sifted icing sugar together and carefully spread this over the top of the cake.  At this stage you can add the remaining 1/4 blueberry mix, if you feel you need to, otherwise keep it in the fridge and use to mix with natural or flavoured yogurt.

Carefully cut the cake equally into 12 squares.



Thursday, 30 March 2017

Story behind the batik wallets

I'll never tire of looking at and using these gorgeous fabrics when sewing pretty wallets for Ellie's Treasures.  Not only are they all such excellent quality materials, vibrant in colour and design and a true joy to work with, but they have a bit of history behind them too.

My mother and father-in-law spent time in the Far East during the 1960s and early 1970s, returning to the UK in 1972 and during that time, my mother-in-law began to collect these wonderful fabrics with the idea of using them to make clothes.

From the fabric swatches in the photo, the green and black fabric was turned into an elegant dress and the yellow with spotty black pattern was a bolero.

The remaining three beautifully patterned swatches have been cut from yards of Batik, designed and hand printed in Malaysia and Singapore.  I feel honoured to have been given these to use in my work, it makes each hand cut and hand sewn wallet all the more unique.




Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Open for business with 2017 goals

Ellie's Treasures has started selling through a third online platform - nuMonday.  Set up as a UK based marketplace for creative individuals and small businesses, it is very new, having begun its journey in December 2016.

I've only managed to list a few of my items so far, but hopefully in a short time my store will be fully stocked giving customers the choice of which marketplace they'd like to purchase from.








It finally feels like Winter is behind us as we experience a few pleasant Spring like days.  Today has been glorious, so I grabbed the opportunity to taking my cuppa and planning diary outside to work in the sunshine.

Trying to plan a little and set some goals is really helping to keep my motivation going.  I did a blog post on this last year and have referred back to my 2016 intentions, goals, achievements quite regularly.  So I've started planning a few events for 2017 - taking part in the Etsy Makers Spring Market a couple of weekends ago has opened my eyes to online craft events - it was hard work but great fun and I plan to do a few more during the year.  I've also applied for a well known Norfolk Christmas market - a little daunting, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed I'll be accepted.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Spring Makers Market - this weekend on Facebook

Commencing this Friday, 3rd March (8pm) and all weekend (finishing 10pm on Sunday, 5th March) is the Etsy Makers Spring Market taking place on Facebook.

Click here to have a browse at all the fantastic items that will be available during the market, many of which will have a discount applied throughout the weekend (code to be released at the start of the market), with some sellers applying the discount code to all or part of their Etsy shop, not just those items showcased for the event.

Read about some of the designers that are taking part here.  By learning about each seller and the wonderful array of products that will be available, you'll begin to realise this is the perfect event to purchase for Mother's Day and Easter as well as perhaps a sneaky treat for yourself.

Ellie's Treasures will be one of many Etsy sellers taking part - do hope you can join us.