Monday, December 30, 2013

My year in pics - 2013

It's become a bit of a tradition for me to round off the year with a post looking back on the last 12 months, the highlights, achievements and good times - I think it really makes you appreciate what you've got and it's a lovely way to reflect. I started by looking back at my very first post of 2013, and felt it was actually quite poignant - I was talking about 'living what you love' and following your dreams and said how I was planning to continue 'giving things a go' in 2013. Little did I know, about 2 weeks after I wrote that post that my employer would open up a round of voluntary redundancies, which for me, was the perfect opportunity to give my dream of being self employed a go! I officially went freelance in April and haven't looked back, I'm so glad I took the plunge and followed that dream.

Apart from the career changes, I spent the first few months of the year in the final planning stages of our wedding - what a fun time! Lots of people talk of how stressful planning a wedding is, but I loved the chance to get crafty making things for the day and going to lots of markets and fairs gathering props to make our day really special. LOTS of flea market shopping took place, especially with my new found flexible working hours! ;)

vintage shopping - Selina Lake book launch event
vintage shopping - Decorative Living Fair June 2013

vintage shopping - French brocante
vintage shopping - Decorative Living Fair Sept 2013 London

Even though I was in full on 'wedding body' mode by Easter, the hubby (or fiancé as he was at that time!) still carried out the traditional Easter egg hunt for me which he does every year! I'm such a child! :) Spot the Hotel Chocolat melted heart chocolates! He must've hidden those behind a radiator!

Easter egg hunt
Luckily I still managed to fit into my very tight hen do dress, and had TWO amazing hen parties - one back in Belfast and a London one! Two of the best nights out ever!

Bride to be hen party glasses and feather boa
I got back into work mode briefly by speaking at my first ever blogger's conference - Cybher - a scary but exhilarating experience, and another one of those things on my 'giving it a go' list.

Speaking at Cybher 2013 blogger conference
Then it was the home straight to the definite highlight of my year by far... our wedding. It really was the most special time ever - having all our family and friends with us in one of our favourite places in the world, sharing the day we'd planned for for so long. It was truly amazing.

Our wedding in the Dordorge, France - flowers & dress
Our wedding in the Dordorge, France
Our wedding in the Dordorge, France - croque en bouche
Our wedding in the Dordorge, France - peonies and roses
And to top it off we had a wonderful 10 days in Italy for honeymoon - wishing I could be back there right now! Good times!

Our honeymoon in Positano, Italy
Our honeymoon in Positano, Italy
I was totally expecting to come home and have the holiday blues after such a fabulous few weeks, but luckily I came home to find out I'd been shortlisted for the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards for best interior blog! I didn't win in the end but it was an honour to be shortlisted and I had a fab night out at the awards in early October.

Shortlisted for Cosmo Blog awards 2013 - best interior blog
I also immediately launched into what was probably my career highlight of the year - guest editing the Mollie Makes Home bookazine. I spent around 6 weeks working on this, sourcing gorgeous homes and crafty projects to feature and loved every minute of it! It was a proud moment when the finished product arrived on my doorstep!

Guest Editor on Mollie Makes Home
91 Magazine continued to do well, even though I only managed to publish 2 issues this year. Issue 7 which published in October has been the most successful by a mile, and is fast approaching 1 million hits which is just phenomenal! I'm so pleased so many enjoy the magazine, and I'm truly grateful for the talented contributors that help to make it so great. Yes, it is a huge labour of love, it's definitely not a money making venture, but it has opened up so many other doors, and I'm always excited to see what might happen in the future... thank you again everyone for your support. x

91 Magazine issue 7 cover
One of the things I loved about this year was the amazing summer we had. It was pretty special wasn't it?! And I was so grateful to be working from home so I could enjoy my lunch in the garden, which I'd spent a little time sprucing up. Although it's not looking so pretty these days due to the winter months neglect!

Mini garden makeover
Spring flowers in my garden
In October, I turned 32 (blimey!) and true to form, the hubby surpassed himself in the cake making stakes! A lot of time spent watching the Great British Bake Off has clearly paid off!

Cup cone cakes
Also becoming a bit of a tradition, is spending my birthday in a British seaside town, so this year we visited Whitstable. I'd never been before and just loved it, SO many great vintage shops! :)

Whitstable - British seaside town
coloured houses in Whitstable - British seaside town
As the wedding was now out of the way, we turned our attention to some home improvements and tried our hand at tiling. I'm so chuffed with the results in our little porch area, it really makes such a difference. You can see what it looked like before here.

Our porch makeover - DIY tiling
I've really settled into the freelance life now too. In September I joined the AO at Home blog team, contributing craft project posts a few times a month, which has been so much fun. You can see my previous posts here. I've also loved working more with the Mollie Makes team, writing features for the monthly mag. I've also been working with Jacqui Small publishing throughout the year doing picture research and did a fun styling project with First Direct bank, which was great experience in styling.

DIY Embroidery hoop place names - for AO at Home blog
my feature on Ted and Agnes blogger Rachelle Blondel in Mollie Makes magazine
Styling project for First Direct - 3D moodboard for first time buyers inspiration
With all that hard work, we took a couple of little weekends away in November, firstly Paris and then a stay in a vintage wagon in Cornwall. Much needed time off!

colourful meringues in Parispretty ribbons in a Paris haberdasherythe Duke wagon at Spring Park vintage holidays in Cornwall
the Duke wagon at Spring Park vintage holidays in Cornwall
Another thing I've loved this year, due to the fact I'm now self employed, is that I have a little more time to do some crafting. Not MUCH more, but a bit! And I've really enjoyed seeing my hand stitched patchwork quilt take shape! I started it back in June just before the wedding, there is still a long way to go, but it's a nice thing to just pick up when you feel like it every now and then.

my hand stitched patchwork quilt progress
So, that is pretty much my year in a nutshell! I'm glad that I took my own advice at the start of the year, and now think I should write another motivational post for 2014! I've got a feeling 2014 is going to be even crazier than 2013, there are lots of exciting things already in the pipeline which I will tell you about very soon! First things first is our kitchen renovations starting in mid-January. Be prepared for a lot of kitchen related posts! Bye bye to this little kitchen - you've served us well!

our kitchen before renovation
I'd love to hear what you highlight of 2013 has been, and also if you've got any plans or motivational thoughts for 2014! Happy new year all, and thanks as always for stopping by Patchwork Harmony! Your support and comments really do mean the world!

xxx

All photos by Caroline Rowland / Patchwork Harmony - except wedding photos - ©Jemma Watts / Pearl Pictures

Friday, December 20, 2013

DIY: Glitter jars and cocktail stirrers

The festive period is truly upon us! Apologies for the lack of Christmas related posts and/or inspiration, as I said in my previous post, it's been a bit more minimal for me this year! But here is a simple little DIY idea I put together for the AO at Home blog, perfect for Christmas and/or New Years Eve celebrations! Pop over to the AO blog for the full tutorial...

DIY: Glitter jars and stirrers for party cocktails
DIY: Glitter jars and stirrers for party cocktailsMerry Christmas and a happy new year all!
I'll be back after Christmas with my year in pics post! Have a wonderful festive break!

xxx

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A simple Christmas

I haven't went too mad this year with decorations for various reasons; being super busy, the fact we will be away for Christmas and also that we are getting ready for renovations in the new year so the house is a already starting to get in a bit of a shambles as I start to organise stuff for this.

But actually it's quite nice to go a bit more simplistic sometimes, and I was really inspired by the new online magazine from By Fryd which has the most beautiful, fresh and natural Christmas images. My house certainly doesn't look anything like this, but I've been enjoying flicking through every gorgeous page of this mag and feeling serene and festive at the same time...

What's inspiring is that everything looks so easy to put together - the star made from some sticks tied together, pine cones and candles on the table, mini trees planted in ceramic pots and I love the large feather mobile above the table in the last image...

white honeycomb decorations for Christmas
aNautral and simple table setting for Christmas, with pine cones and candles

simple star made from wooden sticks and ribbon for Christmas

Quote from CS Lewis
Simple and natural living room setting at Christmasmini potted Christmas trees on mantelpiece

Simple heart shaped decoration for Christmas

paper Christmas tree decorations

Natural and simple table setting for Christmas with feather mobile

Check out the latest issue from By Fryd asap, I promise it will make you feel happy!

xxx

Monday, December 16, 2013

A charitable gift for craft lovers

A little while back I was asked to contribute one of my crafty projects which I'd featured on my blog to a new book that was being put together called Home Make Me Happy.  The book was to be a multi-craft tutorial book and the aim was to raise money for the Princes Trust through sales of the book. The Princes Trust is such as an important charity which supports disadvantaged young people in the UK, and what could be more worthy than our future generation?

Home Make Me Happy book raising money for the Princes Trust
With recipes and craft projects sourced from bloggers and small businesses such as myself, there is a varied range of projects, from a cottage pie recipe from Michelin star chef Aiden Byrne to some Trompe d'oeil shoes by Beauxoxo.

Home Make Me Happy book raising money for the Princes Trust

my round cushion project in Home Make Me Happy book -  raising money for the Princes Trust
Above is my little round cushion which was included and below is a knitted ice cream project by Miss Jojangles, a Pinnocchio doll by Tone Finnanger and a cake pop recipe by Hollypops... just an example of some of the projects inside.

knitted ice cream project  in Home Make Me Happy book -  raising money for the Princes Trust
Pinnochio doll project  in Home Make Me Happy book -  raising money for the Princes Trust

cake pops recipe  in Home Make Me Happy book -  raising money for the Princes Trust
So if you fancy buying a gift that will not only make the crafty person in your life smile, but also help out young people in need this Christmas, then please do pop over to the Home Make me Happy website to purchase a copy. (or just treat yourself!) The book is £15 and 100% of the proceeds will go to the Princes Trust.

Home Make Me Happy book -  raising money for the Princes Trust
 Go on, do it! ;)

xxx

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