genevieve – print and pattern

print and pattern


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DIY wedding pom poms

wedding pom poms - genevieve blog

I was craving a bit more colour at the wedding venue but couldn’t think how to make a bigger splash until Lotte at BBF pointed me in the direction of a tissue paper pom pom tutorial.

These were an ideal way of upping the colour intake (big, cheap, simple).  I went for pastel grey and green, with bright pink.

mexican papel picado - genevieve blog

I confess I wasn’t convinced they would look very good, perhaps a little *too* obviously DIY, but an evening’s trial run with a friend put paid to those worries. Here are some great things about them:

  1. They’re super simple (and satisfying) to make
  2. They’re cheap (you can get good-value big fat rolls of tissue paper sheets in Paperchase on Tottenham Court Road for London-dwellers)
  3. You don’t have to make them well or even accurately for them to look great
  4. It’s quite hard not to rip the tissue paper when fanning it out but IT DOESN’T MATTER OR NOTICE IN THE SLIGHTEST
  5. They look fantastic


Cue my mum and I creating a pom pom factory on the kitchen table a couple of days before the wedding. We used fishing line to hang them up on the beams which was much stronger than invisible thread and didn’t show like string did.

I like them so much that I’m considering putting some up at home. Great party decoration idea too.

wedding pom poms - genevieve blog

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sewing and snowing

janome sewing machine - genevieve blog

Well, after agonising for many months, I decided to bite the bullet and get a brand new sewing machine. I’m very pleased with it. It sews like a dream and everything just seems so easy. Shock of shocks, even the product manual was simple to follow.

It was like a snow dome outside last Sunday with big fat flakes falling all day so I when I got back into the warm, it seemed an idyllic moment to crack out the new machine.

snowy view - genevieve blog

I decided to test run it on an easy project: two tea towels with hanging loops.

When I was in Japan, I found some lovely linen (in an enormous craft shop called Okadaya) which had ‘cute kitchen fabric’ written all over it. It was the perfect cloth for the job. It’s quite unusual in that it has a different pattern on each side – spots on one side, stripes on the other – which in my eyes is the best of both worlds. You get the double-sided pattern without having to line it separately. It also means there’s no ‘wrong’ side on a tea towel. In fact I actually prefer the ‘wrong’ side as it has the thin line of contrasting fabric around the edge, in a bias binding effect.

tea towel - genevieve blogpinned tea towels - genevieve blogsewing tea towels - genevieve blogI followed the instructions from Simple Sewing by Lotta Jansdotter but barely needed to, as tea towels are as simple as it gets really. A great quick win for adding some colour or pattern to your kitchen.

hanging tea towel - genevieve blogtwo tea towels - genevieve bloghanging tea towel - genevieve blogI have quite a bit of the fabric left over and, if I’ve interpreted correctly, it seems to be saying  ‘make me into an apron’. I’ll post the results in due course!


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wild flower cigarette cards / rubber stamps

I’d been searching for a good copy of The Observer’s Book of Wild Flowers but I was thrilled to get one better than that for Christmas in the form of a set of Wills’s wild flower cigarette cards.

I used to press wild flowers as a child in Cornwall and I love them all the more now, as they remind me of a time when I lived closer to fields, hedgerows and streams. But nostalgia aside, the mini flower cards are just so pretty. I’m hatching a plan to display them somehow, perhaps all lined up as below, or perhaps in a smaller batch.

I’m known as a bit of stamp fiend (of the craft variety, although I’m rather fond of old postage stamps too), so I was super chuffed with these knitting-themed rubber stamps and assorted ink pads I got as well. My love of stamps and knitting all brilliantly rolled into one.

They are by Skull and Cross Buns, a make I’d never heard of, but having checked out the Etsy site, I already want at least half of them. They are so nicely made, and the stamp comes out clean and crisp every time. I also really like the way the rubber stamp is raised quite far from the wooden ‘handle’ bit, which means no nasty accidental marks.

So that’s my print/pattern Christmas present round-up. I reckon I did pretty well! I can’t wait to put them all to good use.


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the ephemera fair

the society describes ephemera as “minor transient documents of everyday life”

Despite being a big fan of ephemera, I didn’t actually know it had a name, let alone specialist fairs – until I came across the Ephemera Society. This is one of the reasons I love this city – if it exists, you can get it London.

Last Sunday I paid my first visit to one of the fairs, incongruously held in the swanky Doubletree by Hilton Hotel in Holborn. We paid the £2 entrance fee and were greeted with an overwhelming array of bus tickets, theatre programmes, maps, magazine ads, postcards, posters, greetings cards, magazines – if it’s made of paper, they had it. Some were frighteningly expensive (£250 for a tiny ticket, clearly rare and for serious collectors only) and others pleasingly budget (50p for a bus ticket) – but all were from times gone by.

My first find was this gorgeous Carter’s Lemon Syrup ad (love its bold claim to prevent cholera) and was pleased to discover a fantastic bonus print on the back of the Great Wheel at Earl’s Court, the world’s tallest ferris wheel at the time.

Unsurprisingly, I cleared one seller out of sewing and knitting-themed items (resistance was useless), which I plan to make into a framed display for my as yet non-existent craft room.

I’m going to do a similar thing with these lovely bus tickets. There are some beauties in there, my personal fave is the Last Tram Week one.

I longingly left some other items that would have blown my budget. But there’s always next time – fairs are held approximately every two months.