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May 2012

Wedding gift cushion

Wedding gift cushion

by Clare Mansell

Wedding season is upon us, and I’m sure I’m not the only one swamped by invitations to attend a bespoke wedding venue over the next couple of months. I know most bridal couples these days prefer gift vouchers, but I almost always deviate from the list and do so for several reasons. Firstly if you can do homemade it helps bring the cost down slightly (cost so far of attending one wedding this year with flights, hotel, car hire etc. is nearly £1000!!) and secondly my absolute favourite part of a wedding is picking (or making) a gift, and without that opportunity I actually get quite grumpy.

So there you go, first wedding of the year is the weekend after next and I knew I wanted to part-make and part-buy the present. The purchase part was easy, I got them something we had when we were married which has been an enormous success, it’s a 25 year Christmas journal that you get out every year and write in. Ours has only been going for 5 years, but it’s fascinating reading it every year.

The homemade part was trickier. Alongside a bought present, a quilt was going to be too much, so I had a vague idea of making a cushion. I saw this on Flickr which got me thinking about some sort of cushion personalised to the couple, but I wanted something subtle. So after a lot of thinking and not much sewing I eventually came up with this…
Cushion made for a wedding gift

Originally I was just going to have the surname, but in a rare moment of creative input, my husband suggested adding their initials, and he was so right! The letters are appliqued, the red ones which are felt are attached with a straight stitch  and the white lettering (which is cotton) is sewn with blanket stitch. I would have liked to have used the same grey linen fabric on the back but I didn’t have enough and I have no idea where I bought it from (!) so the back is made from the felt used on the front, I just hope it wears ok…
 I added a layer of batting to the appliqued front and quilted around the large letters then lined it. I think if I do it again I’ll skip the quilting stage, it looks good, but it’s unnecessary extra work and just made the whole cushion a bit bulky.
Anyway, this is one rare project that turned out so much better than I was expecting. I love it and I just hope the bride and groom feel the same!
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Hello summer!

Hello summer!

by Clare Mansell

Silver Cross

It feels like we have been waiting FOREVER for summer this year, but finally it arrived yesterday and despite being five hours north of the border, we were the warmest spot in Scotland – wow!

When the sun came out again today, I decided to dig the Silver Cross pram out and take it to the Post Office (where it always gets a warm reception!) Theo was last in it when he was a couple of months old, so I wasn’t sure what he’d make of it now he’s sitting up, and whether he’d try and climb out. I needn’t have worried, he loved it!

Not only was he up high enough to see everything that was going on, but he also had 360 degree views of the world.

When we got home I took him into the back garden, and parked the pram next to our fence where he was at just the right height to join in with a chat with my neighbours and keep an eye on what their children were up to.

Having spent most of the weekend in the house trying to keep him away from the broadband router or the fake coals in our gas fire, it turned out to be a very simple and easy way to keep him entertained, so here’s hoping the warm weather continues tomorrow…

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What’s been keeping me…

What’s been keeping me…

by Clare Mansell

I’ve been pretty bad at posting over the last few weeks and that’s mostly been because of a little project I’ve been beavering away on. Now that most of the initial work has been done, I thought I’d let you in on it.

But first an explanation. A year ago I went on maternity leave from my job in radio, and then in February this year (partly influenced by the 3,000 miles that now stood between my new home and my old job!) I resigned.

Since then there’s been a lot of thinking about what comes next. Do I want to work? If so how much? What options are practical given that with the Army, we change location every two years, and that being far from family, childcare can sometimes be difficult.

I spent many months thinking about sewing/quilting related options, I did a (pretty disastrous) craft fair and even bought a semi-industrial sewing machine (it looks beautiful, but I’ve still not used it) and eventually concluded sewing is a lot of hard work that rarely pays what it deserves. Finally I started to dare to think about doing the one career I have always fancied and come very close to doing many times, and I realised not only was it what I wanted to do, but it was also the only practical thing for me to do.

Sooooo… I am cautiously and nervously stepping into the world of natural light family photography. It is something I am passionate about, that combines the creative and the technical in a way that my previous career also did.


I have so much to learn, but I am reading, experimenting and educating myself all the time. There are many wonderful photographers out there and it is their beautiful photos that inspire me everyday.


If you’d like to support me and are on facebook, I’d really appreciate a like on my page. In the meantime, I hope you have enjoyed seeing these early photos as much as I enjoyed taking them, and I hope (really hope) they’ll be more to show you soon…

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