New Craft Fabrics From Frumble

Hot off the press, we received an email just an hour ago from Mat at Frumble with news of their latest delivery of craft fabrics.

Whilst these would not be suitable for curtains or blinds, we know that some of our clients like to make little craft projects, and Frumble always have some great designs.

So if you are looking for animals of all descriptions, fairies or skulls, then you will not be disappointed.

Our favourites? They have some great new fabrics for cat lovers – and who doesn’t like a lap warmer in this freezing weather? Click the picture to see these and all the other new designs.

cat craft fabric

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10 Modern Ideas For Curtains

Here’s a great article I came across describing 10 Modern Ideas For Curtains. Although it’s a couple of years old now, I think it is still relevant and is a good read. Maybe it will give you some ideas?

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Mould And Mildew Caused By Condensation

Every now and then I am contacted by clients who have old curtains and blinds that they have had for a while, but want to update. It’s not that they don’t like them any more, but they have started to look a bit aged and suffering from the effects of modern houses – with condensation being a big issue for some.

A big problem that we all find in the autumn and winter months is one of condensation. As the cold comes outside, we tend to shut all windows and doors and batten down the hatches. Of course, this lack of ventilation means that condensation becomes more of an issue.

Everyday cooking, boiling the kettle, showering and radiators being on causes humidity in your home that has nowhere to escape to. Windows, being cold surfaces on the outside, take the brunt of this extra water vapour. And what lives next to your window? That’s right – your curtains or roman blinds.

I am no stranger to this either. Here are some pictures of the blinds that I have up at my bedroom windows – you can quite clearly see that there are black dots that have appeared due to condensation.

mould caused by condensation

mould caused by condensation

Catch them in time and I can probably replace the lining on them, but leave it too late and you will soon find that the mould has crept round to the front and then you are looking to replace the whole blind or curtains – a much more costly affair.

Of course, the cause of the problem is still there. Yes, you could open windows more, but who wants an icy blast blowing round your bedroom?

Other tips to help that I have found include drying clothes outside (generally not possible in the winter); closing kitchen doors when cooking (umm, open plan kitchen/diner); closing bathroom door when showering (obviously, with a house full of teenagers); breathing less (ok, this one isn’t actually a suggestion but breathing is a contributing factor).

This autumn I spent some time looking for something to help me. As usual in these moments, I headed off to Amazon. I researched different window vacuums, reading the reviews, but found that many of them leaked the water that they had sucked up! That seemed a waste of time to me.

However I did find one brand that had great reviews – Karcher. It’s a name that is known for producing quality products, so I took the plunge and bought one.

Oh my word! My life has been transformed! Ok, that’s a slight exaggeration, but every morning for the past few years months I spent a couple of minutes vacuuming the windows in my kids bedrooms, which are by far the worst windows in the house, and that problem is gone.

I bought the cheapest of the Karcher models, as I wasn’t sure if it would make much of a difference. Whilst this cost me about £30-£35 (my memory fails me) but they have more advanced models ranging up to £70 or so. Which, when you come to think of it, is not a bad investment compared to having to replace blinds or curtains for several rooms.

I have just realised I may be doing myself out of some business here! But if you click on the picture this will take you to Amazon to view the product, and if you happen to buy I will receive a small bonus, so that will go towards keeping me whilst you make do with your window dressings that you are no longer going to ask me to replace. I hope that sounds fair…

If you find that your blinds or curtains have gone too far and need replacing, obviously I will be happy to quote, please feel free to contact me.

And in a month or so the sun will be out, we will all be outside enjoying the fresh air, and life will be happy.*

Until next time


*I am not a weather expert, just a hopeful person, so please don’t quote me on this or blame me if it is not true.

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World Maps As Decorative Pieces


We both love maps, and find them beautiful as well as educational. We’re not so great at reading them when out driving, or walking the dog, but there is a beauty to them that fascinates us.

Here’s one Paul has that is hanging in his girls’ bedroom. Such a simple idea, but really cool! Do you like it?

We thought we would see what other types of maps you can get, and us as decorative or statement pieces in your house. Click on any of these pictures for more details.This old style wallpaper would make a great addition to your wall. At over 3 metres by over 2 metres, this is a really big mural atht would look great in the right setting. It comes in 8 parts, so make sure you are careful when putting it up! Can you imagine what a great aid it would be for youngsters in learning about the world, or what a talking point when you have guests over for dinner?

If you are looking for a monochrome piece, then this wall art at 1.4 metres by 1 metre will look great. Personally we think it would look great in a white or grey room, but it may not be to everyone’s taste. Definitely a modern look. But what you gain in style you lack in detail, so not very good for an educational tool.
This next one is unusual in that it looks like a piece of art in itself. We love the bright colours on this print and it’s very affordable at less than £10 for a 50cm by 40cm print. Beautiful!
Another bright colourful one, we now move onto multi part wall decorations. This one is a 3 part print on canvas, and looks great in this picture over a dining room table. As long as care is taken to ensure that each part is hung at the same height, you can’t go wrong with this.
This one comes in 5 parts – a real test of your DIY skills in hanging. But the impact is just amazing – and looks great as a backdrop here to a sideboard or home office.
Of course, you don’t have to be limited to wall art when using world maps in your decor – they can be used in alll sorts of ways, as can be seen below:
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Dress Curtains

dress curtains and blind

I recently made this set for a client’s lounge window, which comprised of a roman blind, dress curtains and a pelmet. I love the overall look and think it looks really smart, and the choice of fabric is great.


I sometimes get asked what are dress curtains? Generally speaking, dress curtains are curtains that are for decorative purposes, and are not made to be functional. In most cases they are paired with a roman blind, as in my client’s case, but are not intended to be pulled.


You may ask, why would someone want this? Some people prefer a roman blind at a window, but like the dress curtains also, just to be aesthetically pleasing. Personally I love this look, although I have not used this in my own house. Add in a pelmet and tie backs and the look is just fantastic!


But how much fabric is required for dress curtains? You will need less than for a fully functional set of curtains, but enough to make them look realistic. Obviously it depends on the width of the windows, and the desired length, but I think it best if there is enough material to almost reach in the centre. If funds are tight, you can use less than this amount, but the finished look will not be quite so luxurious.


Talking of length, another reason that people opt for dress curtains is to do with heat. In many houses radiators are situated underneath windows. If you like a full length curtain that reaches the floor, but don’t want to keep out the heat, you may opt for dress curtains with a roman blind.

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Prestigious 2016 New Arrivals

As we can fully expect, a new year brings a new collection at Prestigious Textiles. Actually, not one new collection, but thirteen!


Annika is a vibrant collection of stripes (I love Tutti Frutti), spots, and a couple of lovely leaf designs. I do hope somone buys these as they look great and I’d love to work with them. Metro continues the bright looks with chevrons, that were so popular last year.


If you are looking for a heavyweight material that is plain, but not boring, then you need to head over to see the Herriott collection. They are upholstery weight weaves in a few earthy tones, ranging from chalk through to pumice. It gives quite a masculine feel in my opinion. If you want completely plain, then Finlay is your selection.


If you want a plain look but with a bit of texture, something that will show more detail the closer you get, then take a look at Dalesway.


If you are after modern florals, then Samba and Ambleside will be your first ports of call. In the latter I particularly like the Yarrow and Wordsworth designs – very delicate flowers. There are also a couple of designs in the Perception collection, although in very limited colours.


I’ve worked with many Prestigious fabrics over the years. They are very good quality, at an affordable price, and great to work with. Whilst you can buy cheaper fabrics, I know that anything from Prestigious will give a great finish and I will not have any issues with patterns.

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Downton Abbey? Not quite, but a dream house

Paul always brings me home a copy of the Wealden Times each month, as it’s full of lovely inspiration and beautiful homes. A highly recommended read, especially if you are looking for anything stylish for your home – you’ll find plenty of ideas that you can adapt.


The December 2015 issue came home, and I looked at the front cover, a rather dark one, featuring lots of wood panels and a lovely wooden table. I thought it looked vaguely familiar, but without paying attention too much.


It was only when I flicked through later on over a cup of coffee that I realised that it was from one of the homes featured inside, and it was a home that I had been to. Yes, one of my clients, the rather glamourous and lovely couple Becky and Jamie Gunning, had opened their home to be featured.


You may remember, if you have been following my Facebook page a while now, that I posted a photo of a bedroom where I had made curtains and a pelmet. It was a lovely grey with panelling to the side. Well it was this house, and you can see the whole article, with photos of most of the house, by clicking here.


The Gunnings have been clients for a while now, having done work for their previous house too. But having seen the pictures from the Wealden Times, I know how much hard work that has gone into their new house.


As described in the article, it really is a wonderful setting, and the house is just superb. Please take a moment to read all about it. And I hope they need some more work soon – I just love to go and measure up in beautiful houses.

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The Bakehouse at 124

Put this date into your diary – Monday 1st June, 2015.


That’s the date that the fantastic new The Bakehouse At 124 in Tonbridge opens. Owned by local Clare Barton, with support from Dr Jerome Flynn, this great new venture can be found at 124 High Street in the old Moss Bros shop that closed last year. If you are still not sure – it’s the best looking building in the High Street, just up form the Chequers pub.


We were lucky enough to be invited to their pre-opening evening last week, where we joined other locals including the Town Team members, our new MP Tom Tugendhat and the new mayor Councillor Owen Baldock. The Mayor was on his first official engagement, having been sworn in that same week.


Nicky was initially contacted by Clare last year, and was pleased to be asked to make the cushions, lampshades and a box cushion for a recycled church pew. You can see some of these in situation here – we hope they give a feel of the bakery. This gorgeous fabric, chosen by Clare, comes from Vanessa Arbuthnott.


The Bakehouse At 124 is Clare’s dream. A lifelong Tonbridge and Hildenborough resident, she re-trained as an artisan baker in 2013. You’ll be able to sample delicious breads and pastries in sumptuous surroundings. As well as the food, which includes light breakfasts, lunch and teas, The Bakehouse at 124 is also a coffee house and tea room.


For those that love a bit of theatre, you can sit at the toast bar and watch the bakers in action, as they create small batches of loaves that will match any in today’s growing artisan food revival.


Sourdough bread will be a particular speciality, and there will be sweet brioche, croissants and other pastries. Perhaps porridge is your choice of breakfast; quiche or soup for lunch; and who doesn’t like a proper afternoon tea.


We’ve heard of some locals say “not another cafe”, but The Bakehouse At 124 is so much more than a cafe. With inglenook fireplaces, two floors of comfortable seating in a Tudor building, and outside garden, and bakers working in full view, it will be the perfect setting for the more discerning customer.


You can even hire space for networking or team events – email if this is of interest. Follow them on Facebook here and check out more photos from the tasting evening courtesy of Alma Photography.


Having sampled some of their food last week and had a good look at the space, we can’t wait for the opening. We really think this class of establishment will really stand out and bring people to Tonbridge, to sample a touch of luxury in a fantastic setting.

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Kent Life Magazine

Both myself and Paul have lived in Kent all our lives. I expect many of you reading this blog have too, but just how many of us know much about our great County – The Garden of England?


It’s so easy to get to London from where we are, or to the Sussex coast, the New Forest, that I expect there are great swathes of our County that we haven’t explored. And that is why we should all buy and read the Kent Life Magazine.


Packed solid with news and features on our towns, and great articles on the people that live there too, Kent Life Magazine is produced monthly. Take the March 2015 issue out now – going through the index there are features on Tonbridge (hurrah), Canterbury and Deal; articles about The Kent Wildlife Trust, and Radio Kent DJ Andy Garland; and so many others including hotel reviews, cooking and gardening advice, and features on the bosses of many local companies.


And, I am very honoured to say, I was also interviewed for a little feature this month too, entitled My Town. What an honour for a humble little curtain maker!


I was contacted by the lovely Sarah Sturt, Editor of Kent Life Magazine and such an enthusiastic lady, who arranged for a photographer to come round. Those of you who know me also know this is one of my biggest dreads – I always try and get out of any photos, but I had no choice.


Check out my Publicity page where you can download a pdf copy of the article. I urge you all to go out and buy an issue – not to read my article, although that would be nice – but to learn more about our County and perhaps inspire you to take a visit to something new to you.

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Making A Duvet Cover

There’s a list of things in my head that I’ve always wanted to have a go at making, but being so busy I don’t often get the chance to test my making skills.

But just before Christmas I decided to try one. My eldest daughter’s birthday is just before Christmas, and as she has moved her obsession from horses to ducks, I decided to make her a duvet and pillow cover set featuring ducks. Well, this was after trying to find one to buy, without success.

You can see the result here, but needless to say I was rather pleased. As she was too! Obviously a lot of the success is down to finding the right material (Cock-A-Leekie by Prestigious), but I was rather proud of my first attempt.

Single duvet covers are easier to make as you can fit in one width of fabric, but double duvet covers would be more problematic. Either we would have to source some double width material, or perhaps do panels sewn together.

I’d love to offer this as an option to sell to you via my website, but I’ll be honest, it’s not very cost effective. You need 3 metres of fabric, and my making costs would be at least £20. But if you do REALLY want to get a duvet cover made, then feel free to contact me and we can discuss the options.

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