Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Kew Gardens in March: Signs of Spring

During my year's membership of Kew Gardens I sometimes struggled to find the time to take proper days off and go visit the gardens, but when I did it was so worth it.

In January I explored the rock garden and the Princess of Wales Conservatory, then took a walk round the gardens enjoying the bare trees and occasional bits of winter colour. I was busy with deadlines in February, so by the time March rolled round I couldn't wait to go back!

After the rather grey weather in January it was wonderful to have a day of blue skies and sunshine. The first signs of spring were showing themselves - daffodils by the Temple of Aeolus (the ruler of the winds)...

... and carpets of crocuses, gleaming in the spring light. 

What a difference a bit of blue sky makes! The gardens were still looking rather bare, but the buildings gleamed and the branches of the trees looked quite gorgeous against a backdrop of blue.


I revisited some of the areas of the gardens that I'd been to before, like the lake (there's something so calming about a stroll round a lake, isn't there?)...

... and explored some new ones, including the Great Pagoda, the Japanese Landscape and the Marianne North Gallery (so fabulous!).

After my walk (and a cuppa and a piece of cake - v. important) I headed indoors to enjoy the Orchids Festival... which I'll be blogging about next week. Spoiler: there were a LOT of orchids!

Want more Kew pics? Click here to see all the posts in the series so far.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Subscriber Exclusive: Make a Felt Bird Mask

This month's exclusive pattern for my newsletter subscribers is... a felt bird mask!

I used to sell these bird masks in my shop, they're really fun to make and even more fun to wear.

This year I'm sending out an email newsletter about once a week, with an update of what I've been making and doing lately, plus links to my latest blog posts and tutorials and lots of creative and colourful things to inspire you.

It's free to sign up, and each month this year you'll get exclusive access to a free crafty pattern.

I had to take some time off in February due to illness and took a little break from sending my weekly newsletter, but I don't want people to have missed out on February's mallard duck pattern. So if you sign up this month (March 2018) you'll get access to February's duck AND March's bird mask... then if you stay subscribed, you'll get a new free pattern each month as the year progresses.

Sounds good? Click here to subscribe to my newsletter!

Friday, 9 March 2018

DIY Felt Butterfly Hairclips Tutorial

My latest tutorial for The Village Haberdashery's blog is all about felt butterflies!

Use the free patterns and step-by-step tutorial to make some pretty felt butterfly hairclips:

Felt Butterfly Hairclips
Felt butterfly hair clips
This tutorial is part of a spin-off series, showing ways you can reuse some of the patterns from my A Year of Wreaths project. I originally designed the felt butterflies for June's butterfly wreath.

 Yarn-wrapped wreath decorated with felt butterflies

Click here for the butterfly hairclips tutorial!

You'll find the butterfly wreath tutorial here and you can explore all the wreaths in the series here.

12 seasonal wreath tutorials

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

March Meet The Maker 2018

This month I'm taking part in Joanne Hawker's annual Instagram challenge for creatives: #MarchMeetTheMaker.

The basic idea of this challenge is that there's a short prompt for each day of the month, and you use that as a springboard to showcase your "business story" - letting people discover a bit more about you, your creative process, how you run your business, etc. You can read more about the challenge here.

Exploring everyone's posts is a great way to discover new-to-you artists, makers and other small businesses, and to learn more about your crafty pals and creative faves. I'm really loving the community feel created by lots of people chatting about the same topics each day!

Here are the first few pics I've shared for the challenge (following the links will take you directly to them, and my captions)... 

You can see all the pics I post through the month over on my Instagram account, lauralupinhoward. I hope you'll enjoy following along!