Merchant and Mills Winner



A huge congrats to Georgia who has won a pattern of her choice from Merchant and Mills. Please email me at hello(@)nancy-straughan(dot)com so I can put you in touch with the lovely team at Merchant and Mills and get your prize sent out to you!

P.S I used a random picker to make the draw fair.

How To Make a Saddle Stitched Notebook

This is such a simple project and one that will ensure that you have personalised gifts ready in a hurry. I find bookbinding very therapeutic and satisfying, I now have so many notebooks that I don't know what to do with them all! The materials needed for this craft are so inexpensive and easily to find.




Please watch the video above to find out how to make a Saddle Stitched Notebook. I've made it easy to follow by filming the whole step by step process. Good luck!



Merchant and Mills Giveaway

The wonderful team at Merchant and Mills very generously sent me some gorgeous linens and the Camber Set pattern a few weeks ago. I've become very interested in making my own clothes this Summer, mainly because I'm on a year long high street shopping ban which you can read about here, so I was so happy to receive such a lovely parcel from them.

PLUS Merchant and Mills are offering one of you a chance to win your favorite pattern from their online shop. Read to the end of the post to find out how you could win this fabulous prize.



I really enjoyed making this dress. As a homeware designer I'm used to simple sewing so this was a great little challenge for me. I had never sewn set in sleeves or bias binding before and with some advice from my friend Angela I also added some piping to the back. Don't look too close it's a bit wonky!

I can see myself wearing this dress all the time as it has such a classic and comfy shape, in fact all the Merchant and Mills patterns are wonderful and I've been a big fan of the brand for a while.

To enter this fantastic giveaway all you have to do is pop over to the Merchant and Mills website and comment below with your favorite fabric and pattern combination. You will receive extra brownie points for liking both the Merchant and Mills and Nancy Straughan Printed Textiles facebook pages too. You can enter as many times as you like and the giveaway will end in two weeks time. Good luck!

The Biscuiteers Icing Event

I'm sure most of you have heard of the Biscuiteers but in case you haven't they produce gorgeous and intricately designed hand iced biscuits and cakes in London. Have a look at their site here.

I was very kindly invited along to an icing class at the Biscuiteers Boutique in Kensington last week. I had a lovely time with my talented illustrator pal Emma Block , who was needless to say amazing, and I meet some other lovely ladies who made some very pretty biscuits too. Greeted with a glass of prosecco we were taken to the workshop space downstairs that had "taxidermy" butterflies and beetles that were iced so realistically I almost thought they were real.  Lots of icing techniques were shown to us and after a rather wobbly start I actually managed to create eight half decent biscuits which were promptly eaten.

Thanks so much to the lovely ladies at the Biscuiteers Boutique in Kensington for being so generous. Take a look at the photos below for an insight into one of their classes.









VIDDY Pinhole Camera Kit

I was recently contacted by Kelly the designer and inventor behind VIDDY. VIDDY is a tough, screenprinted DIY pinhole camera that takes around half an hour to make. The project is currently being funded on Kickstarter.

If you're interested in do it yourself photography the VIDDY kits will be available for £30, and come in 4 bold colours; Green, Black, Blue and Red. Once constructed VIDDY can take both medium format and 35mm film.

Money raised for the project will not only go towards manufacturing the kits, but also help to fund it’s further development as an educational aid for use in schools and colleges. Whats not to like? 





Colour Love No. 1 - Yellow

In my work (textile and homeware design in case you didn't know) I'm all about the neutrals but I do love colour too. Which is why I wanted to start a new colour series on my blog. First up is yellow.

Ok, I am obsessed with yellow right now. Everything I like is yellow, I'll be in a shop and I'll think "ooohhh I like that, plus its yellow".  Its happening with flowers, homeware, food, clothes...everything. I've collected the following gorgeous images featuring yellow things, don't they make you smile?








1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

My Favorite Bath and Body Products

I realised today that I have never written about what beauty products I use, I think its about time! My beauty philosophy is keep it simple. I dont wear much make up or do anything special with my hair and the products I use always have very simple and natural ingredients. I believe that in order to look after your skin and body you should always use the most gentle products you can find, even if you have oily skin gentle regular cleansing is a lot better for you than the oil stripping skin care products you find on the highstreet.

I don't spend a fortune on my beauty products but I don't buy bargain basement stuff either. I like to be able to read and understand the ingredients and feel confident that what I'm putting on my body is as natural as it possibly can be.

 - I can't guarantee that the skincare products I recommend will suit you. My sensitive skin responds extremely well to these products but everyone's skin is different. Wherever possible, test products out on yourself before purchasing. -

I buy most of my products from Whole Foods which has a surprisingly amount of very inexpensive products. I don't have a huge amount of money to spend on myself ( London is bloody expensive) so I also shop in Boots occasionally as I really like their Botanics range especially the Organic products. Anyway lets jump into the products I am loving at the moment.




Avalon Organics Volumizing Rosemary Shampoo - Around £4. This smells divine, my bathroom turns into a country herb garden when I use this. I have a sensitive scalp and I am allergic to most standard shampoos but I love this one. Gentle plant derived cleansers enriched with volumizing Wheat Protein, Vitamin E, Chamomile, Copaiba and Rosemary thoroughly cleanse while building volume from root to tip for thicker, fuller body.

Aesop Tea Tree Leaf Facial Exfoliant - £27. This is one of the most expensive products I have bought but it is such an amazing product and I don't use it very often. I used to have quite a few Aesop
products but it became a very expensive habit! I do love this brand though. A dry mix of crushed botanicals to buff combination or normal skin. When mixed with a cleanser (gel or cream-based), this powder of ground Tea Tree leaves, crushed nut shells and purified clay sloughs away tired surface cells to effect immaculately cleansed and polished skin.

Method Gel Hand Wash - Around £3. Naturally derived, paraben and triclosan-free, heavenly scented hand wash. It also doesn't dry out your hands. 

Avene Soothing Moisture Mask - £11.50. I love this mask as you don't even have to wash it off, perfect for lazy people. Very rich in Avène thermal spring water, this mask intensely releases all of the water's soothing and anti-irritant properties. Its nourishing and moisturising elements restore the cutaneous barrier and thus promote skin hydration (in the upper layers of the epidermis).

Avene Cold cream Ultra Rich cleansing gel - £8. Ultra rich cleansing gel for dry and very dry sensitive skin. Soap free, it has an extremely mild washing formula and a pH level which is perfectly adapted to that of the skin, allowing for gentle cleansing.

Iris Hantverk Face Brush - £14. This is a great thing to have in your bathroom as you'll save a lot of money by not needing to purchase exfoliators. Face brush in oak and horse hair. Use the brush wet with your facial cleansing lotion to remove makeup, dirt, and simultaneously get rid of dead skin cells.

Jason Soothing 70% Aloe Vera Hand & Body Lotion - Around £7. This botanically rich, non-greasy daily lotion delivers deep, long-lasting hydration. Highly concentrated, soothing Aloe Vera Gel instantly relieves discomforts of dry, irritated, sun damaged or newly shaven skin.

Dermalogica Ultra Calming Mist- £28 ( I'm using the travel size right now that is a lot cheaper). If I had to pick one brand to use for the rest of my life it would be Dermalogica. I had eczema when I was a teenager one one side of my face that really used to get me down. I was allergic to all the usual products I could find in Boots etc. I tried a Dermalogica cleanser and it completely got rid of the eczema. If it does flare up, which is rare I use this product to soothe it. 

I hope you find my recommendations useful!

My Top Five Smoothie Recipes

I just bought myself a Breville Blend Active blender as I have been really desperate to try making my own smoothies for breakfast. So far I'm addicted.


I've only had it a few days but I am really enjoying trying out different combinations of fruits and flavours to get the most out of my mornings. I feel fuller and more energised and I really look forward to making my fresh smoothie everyday. I bought a gorgeous melon yesterday and I cant wait to try that out with some flat Spanish peaches!

I bought this particular blender because I was looking for an inexpensive yet powerful tool that I would be able to use for many different sweet and savoury recipes. Plus it fits it onto my small kitchen cupboards!


Ive found that I am eating so much fruit without even really thinking about it. Smoothies are so delicious and nutritious, it feels like a real treat. Here are my top five smoothie recipes:

Zingy Green Apple, Grape and Spinach with Linseeds

1 Apple cut into cubes
2 Bananas cut into slices
A handful of white grapes
A handful of spinach
A tablespoon of Linseeds
4 dates

This one is quite thick so I added some water into the mix too. I enjoyed this smoothie this morning and the sharp green apple really woke me up!

Creamy Banana and Almond with Oats

2 Bananas cut into slices
A tablespoon of Almond Butter
A tablespoon of Oats
A splash of Almond Milk

Deliciously creamy and indulgent, tastes like a treat! The oats and the almond butter will keep you feeling full for longer too.

Peach and Strawberry with Yoghurt and Honey

1 banana
2 peaches
A handful of strawberries
A tablespoon of natural yoghurt
A squeeze of honey

This one is perfect if you feel like a Summery hint of sweetness. Peaches are a wonderful fruit filled with vitamins A and C as well as lots of fibre to keep you full.

Fiery Pear, Apple and Ginger

2 Pears chopped
2 Apples cut into cubes
A teaspoon of grated fresh ginger

This smoothie makes a great Autumnal breakfast when you might be feeling a little sluggish. The ginger will calm and soothe your digestive system, perfect for the morning time.

Berry Super Smoothie

A handful of blueberries
A handful of frozen forest berries
1 banana
Fresh orange juice

This one tastes like Summer in a glass! I love using frozen mixed berries as they make the smoothie really nice and cool. Blueberries are a wonderful fruit and do wonders for your skin as they contain the highest number of anti-oxidants.


Paint it

Here's another trend round up post semi inspired by my new blog design. You all must know by now I love me some DIY, so I've popped some great How To's in too. This lot are a super summery bunch and I'm sure you'll find some eye candy in this post. I also hope you like watercolours.


Hip Hop Style

I keep seeing really awesome Hip Hop themed products and prints all over the internet. There are of course some really not awesome Hip Hop themed stuff too, but I think I've found some pretty great examples. Dat Beyonce mug tho. As always click caption for links.

Fly Art - The joy of life (1906), Henri Matisse / Hell of a Life, Kanye West







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