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It's been a weird week, hasn't it?

We were put on "lockdown" here in the UK a week ago today and my social media feeds have exploded with people sewing, drawing, baking, painting, cooking, decorating, and generally pouring their hearts into creative pursuits as a distraction and much needed solace.

I have to admit that this made me feel worse for a while. Everyone else was being so productive! And so artistic! And making such lovely things! And I was just feeling anxious and depressed and crying a lot at the smallest thing, and panicking about how I was going to earn any money when any time I sat down to do any work I felt like I was going to have a panic attack.

But gradually people have been opening up about how - hey, guess what?! - they've been struggling with all these difficult feelings, too! I've chatted to friends about how I'm doing and we've laughed and commiserated about this strange new situation we've all found ourselves in. I've taken advantage of our permitted one walk a day to get out in search of light and space and sunshine. I've baked brownies and made soup. And I've started to dip my toes back into making things after my long break this winter.

I'm sure you've been feeling lots of ups and downs, too. If you're managing to make things, I hope it's bringing you comfort and keeping you entertained, but if you've found yourself overwhelmed and sapped of creative energy please don't feel bad about it. Let yourself rest, take care of yourself in the way that you need to right now. Making will be right there waiting for you when you're ready to embrace it again.

New on My Blog:
Felt Buttons Tutorial

Obviously, if you are in the mood for making things, I'd recommend visiting my blog! My latest free tutorial is a step-by-step guide to making fun felt buttons. I love making these from felt scraps, they make wonderful centres for felt flowers (you'll find lots of felt flower projects in my free tutorial archive, and there are several in my shop, as well).

Coming Soon:
Stitchy Things Coming Soon

I've been easing myself back into working very gently this week. To stop myself feeling overwhelmed, I set a timer on my phone for 15 minutes. "You don't have to do everything, you just have to do something for 15 minutes", I told myself... and several blocks of 15 minutes later, I was settled into some stitching.

Since then I've started prepping a whole bunch of new projects for my blog which I'm really looking forward to sharing with you guys! This week is going to be all about little houses: I've got five cute house embroidery patterns to share, and I've also turned one into a sweet "STAY HOME" pattern (I love how it turned out, especially how those pastel shades look on the grey fabric!). Then next week I'll be celebrating spring with some spring tree crafts.

Behind the Scenes:
Spare Room "Studio"
Spare Room "Studio"
Work In Progress

I'm sitting typing this newsletter on my spare bed, in what can best be described as a crafty nest. I shoved a whole bunch of in-progress projects in the spare room to get them out of the way when I was taking a break this winter and have ended up working in here! It's comfy, the light is good, and the space is so small that it feels nice and cosy which is what I think I need right now.

As you can see, I've got lots of projects on the go at the moment! Some of them are finished makes awaiting good daylight for photos and others are in-progress designs which have been paused for months but are now getting gradually nudged forwards. I've mostly been focusing on crafts for my blog, but I've also been tinkering with some shop and newsletter projects.
Floral Embroidery
Felt Peonies
Christmas Cuties

One of the weirdest things about this job is how you end up working on very unseasonal things. At the moment I'm prepping floral projects for the summer (flower embroidery patterns for my blog, pretty peony brooches for my newsletter) while also stitching Christmas designs!

I wish I could say that I was being supremely organised by starting work on Christmas patterns so early but, alas, this is actually a project I'd meant to finish in time for Christmas 2019. I'm going to be retiring this set of Christmas ornament tutorials from my blog and putting them to work in my shop, and couldn't resist including embroidery patterns in the PDF along with the felt tutorials! I stitched these guys back in December, and it's lovely to be finally stuffing them ready for a big photo-taking session.

(I'm planning some more ornaments to match these Christmas designs, so you'll be able to build up a big set of co-ordinating baubles. They're just sketches right now but I'll share pics as soon as I've started stitching!)
More Patterns Coming Soon

Finally, here are my most recent WIPs: I stitched these three last night while watching TV. The ice lolly is destined for my blog this summer, the little house is a quick sample I stitched for the patterns I'll be sharing this week, and the stack of books is going to be a freebie for my pattern newsletter subscribers sometime soon. I'd originally planned it as a "book lovers" project for February, sort of Valentines-y without being too cheesy, you know? But, alas, here we are almost in April! Hopefully it'll be worth the wait...
Lovely Links:

Soothe your soul with pretty pictures of books and flowers.

Looking for a new podcast to try? Recording Artists looks so interesting: season one explores the lives and work of six radical women artists, with archive interviews plus commentary from contemporary artists and art historians.

I've linked to it before, but this feels like a good time to re-recommend A Soft Murmur, a wonderful site full of relaxing ambient noises you can mix and remix to your heart's content.

La Vidriola makes super cool jewellery and they've just launched a wonderful fundraising collection, with 15% of sales going to COVID-19-related causes.

I love these free NHS and key-worker appreciation colouring pages! from Betty Ratbag (spotted via Me, You and Magoo).

More awesome colouring in: Rob Lowe, aka supermundane, is adding an A4 page each day to this Dropbox folder, all the pages link up so you can gradually colour and assemble a huge wall of colouring!

What are you reading at the moment? I'm hoping to find time to get stuck into The Terror (heads up: that's an affilliate link) which I started last year but had to return to the library before I finished it (I liked the bit I read so much I asked for a copy for Christmas!) and to work my way through some long reads I've had bookmarked for, like, ever, including this piece about sandwiches.

The Sketchbooker’s Friend looks like a really fab freebie from The Good Ship Illustration, it's designed to guide you through doing some drawing at home and includes printables and an audio drawing session (with a transcript! Always love to see people providing a transcript for audio stuff!)

If you're feeling the itch to journal at the moment but don't know where to start, this is a great list of prompts from Meet Me at Mikes.

Last but by no means least, check out the #bewellandstitch hashtag for lots of designers sharing free patterns for these troubled times.
See you soon,
Laura x

P.S. Got any comments, something awesome to share, or just want to say hi? Click reply to send me an email!
Visit my shop for printable sewing patterns.

Check out my blog's tutorial archive for lots of free crafty projects.

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Copyright © 2020 Laura "Lupin" Howard, All rights reserved.

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