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Friday, 29 March 2013

Here at Elliemagpie, we love the Tilda brand and want to share some of the new collections with you in this blog, along with updating you of the availability in store and giving you some inspiration and ideas on how to use your new fabrics and crafty pics to create your own Tilda world! 

Tilda is a craft brand started by the Norwegian designer Tone Finnanger in 1999 and is most known for the whimsical, comical and naive characters in the form of animals and dolls. Tilda's world is without a doubt a feminine one, and the most recognisable features are the faces, with two dots for eyes and rosy cheeks. There are several collections launched each year and the new ones are: Winter Memories, Country Escape and A Seaside Life. More about those to follow....

Tone Finnanger is the designer and owner of the brand Tilda.

She grew up in Oslo, the capital of Norway.

Always fond of art and craft and inspired by members of her family she soon began to explore how she could make a living from her talent. The dream was to make dolls and scenery for animation films, while in real life she was working in a craft shop.

This combination is what eventually led to the idea of Tilda. Tone started Tilda in 1999 at just 25 years old.
She now lives on an island in the Oslo fjord with her boyfriend and her dog and also where she has her studio. 

Winter Memories

The Winter Memories Series has a muted frosted romantic winter feel, with greys, browns and light teal tones. Beautiful cherubs and roses, deer, birds and old letters adorn the magical embellishments. This series is perfect for home decoration. The vintage colours spread visions of crisp winter mornings and ice crystals hanging from the tips of fir trees.

All of the NEW Tilda fabrics coming this season are quilt quality, and can be bought as fat quarters and in charm packs making these new fabrics a beautiful option for many creative projects. We are stocking a select range of the fabrics from this collection at Elliemagpie, including the bundles and charm packs.

The range also includes some fabulous wrapping paper and gift wrap sets. This paper; whilst beautiful for wrapping those special gifts is also great to use for craft projects; decoupage, dolls houses, covering furniture and scrapbooking...

Country Escape

A  sweet, nostalgic summer series with pink and turquoise as base colours. The theme comprises birds, flowers and porcelain, like the designs once found on old-fashioned invitations. Lovely memories of warm holidays are called to mind.

Just look at this beautiful lifestyle inspiration using Tilda Fabrics and craft papers. Such a shabby chic, springtime look!

This the is fabric collection from the range. Selected lines available at Elliemagpie. If there are other lines that you want them please get in touch with us!

 Another wonderful inspirational lifestyle shot. Paper roses worn as a necklace and finished with a tilda fabric scarf! Can you make these too?

The Seaside Life

A fresh, wonderful summer series with blue and gray-green s base colours. The theme is based on the sea, sand and shells, evoking a sense of romance with subtle notes of humour.

This is one of the wonderful dolls from the collection - the seaside life Angel. She is available as a kit with everything included too!

Some of the wonderful Tilda Angels and Dolls you can create with your fabrics and kits.....

These are the angels that we made in the shop....

And the geese....

And the sheep....
And the birds....

This wonderful apple bunting is also available to come and make as a class at Elliemagpie. Book online now! 

Saturday, 2 March 2013

How to Shabby Chic Furniture... Elliemagpie Style

I love the look of old antiqued furniture, and sometimes you can find it beautifully painted and suitably worn around the edges. However, more often than not you find the piece, but it is too dark, or stained, or just needs a new colour scheme. If you scour salvage yards, antique sellers, or even auction sites  for pieces ( I use pre-loved and gumtree for some real bargains!) you can find the right piece for you and then with a little bit of graft - and probably a lot of sanding and painting - you can make sure that piece of furniture is just right for you and reflects your style.

You can start with something simple like a small stool, so you can get a gauge of the work involved and try out your techniques. Then you can move on to larger projects. Some projects are fiddly - chairs with lots of spindles need some careful attention and sideboards with glass panels and lots of hinges will need extra care and attention.
So “make do and mend!” , up-cycle tired & unwanted furniture and create your own style.
This is a quick guide on how to shabby chic your furniture.....

Once you have your chosen piece , you need to prep the surfaces to be painted. Be sure to remove any handles, hinges or metalwork then you are ready to start stripping the paint or varnish. I prefer to use  sandpaper but you can use Nitromors or a similar paint & varnish stripper. I find both methods are equally effective and take the same amount of time, but when working with heavy detail Nitromors is best. Nitromors is a chemical substance that removes paint, varnish and skin, so do be careful and wear protective clothing & work in a well ventilated area.

Once the item has been stripped and sanded, get rid of any dust by wiping it down with warm water – allow to dry.  
When you are going to start the painting make sure you are working in a well ventilated area that is free from dust, pet hairs and any other debris that could potentially get into the painted finish and ruin the look! This includes being careful if you work in the garden - the wind can whip up some nasty surprises in your work!

I don’t always use primer but depending on the condition of the wood it is sometimes necessary.   Instead of a primer you can apply a couple of coats of white.  I like to use 1869 paints, or one from the Annie Sloan range; oil-based eggshells or matt paints are best as a water-based paint won’t sand as well.  There is of course the ever popular Farrow & Ball paint range too.


When applying the paint always go in the direction of the wood grain, keeping minimal paint on the paintbrush & with nice thin layer.  It’s quality, not quantity. You can use a small roller for the larger areas for the primer but there is something nice about a proper brush finish for the main coat.

Allow each layer of paint to dry properly before adding the next. Keep applying even layers.

Once your primer has dried you can start to paint with the main colour. I tend to leave the piece to thoroughly dry for a minimum of 24 hours before distressing. 

When distressing the furniture, there are many degrees of 'ageing' that you can do. For example just highlight on areas where, wear and tear would occur. For instance this would be on raised areas, edges, around drawers, handles & the top of detailing. To distress I use 180 grit sandpaper, the trick is to sand in one direction repeatedly. 
You can keep going until you reach the desired effect and also use different levels of distressing on the same piece of furniture.

Once you’re content with the finish, you can either leave as is, or add a coat of beeswax or varnish. This will help protect the wood, but don’t go crazy as shiny varnish will not look authentic and shabby chic!
Clean up your metalwork, hinges etc that you removed and put these back on the piece.
If you have any questions or want further tips, please do not hesitate to email us at Elliemagpie!

Monday, 25 February 2013

Elliemagpie - Almost a year Old!

Wow, it's been so long since I wrote the last blog post. I have almost forgotten how to do it!
So, it's been a busy year and a very happy one - so many lovely new people in the shop and many taking part in all the classes and courses we have to offer!

Thanks to all those who have supported us in our first year!

So, to let you know what's coming up at Elliemagpie in the near future!

Ellie Couture is our new venture of all things pretty and beautiful - handcrafted headbands, brooches and hair pins.

Prices range from £2.95 to £14.95 and are all available on the website:

These are just a selection of the products available and we use fabrics, trims, beads, buttons and lace to create these floral delights.

These are some of the headbands, modelled by the lovely Lucy. 
We can make the headbands to your specifications too. If there is a wedding or prom or important 'do' you have planned then let us help you design something stunning to make you stand out from the crowd!

And these are some of the brooches and hairpins (they can be used for both) again these make a lovely gift - perhaps for Mother's Day? and we can make to order too!

The Old Laundrette is a new brand from Elliemagpie. Focusing on mixed media art created from the dreams and whimsies of mind and the touch and texture of vintage findings and fabrics. The work represents some of Elliemagpie's true creative flow and a good portion of the magpie within. 
Always something new to look at and a different perspective to take; these hanging collages and mini canvases are brought together to tell a story on fabric bases. 
Elliemagpie works with vintage fabric, vintage lace, buttons, mirrors, paper, card, stamps, feathers, ribbon, wood, buttons, diamantes, gems and metal findings to create these collages and each piece is unique and never to be repeated!

Mini Collages are priced at just £9.95 each and make lovely gifts.

The books are incredibly detailed and retail at £25 - something new to look at each time you open them!

 The wallhangings are collages of many different mini artworks and are available at £75.

Many of you will have seen some of the industrial inspired coat racks and hooks we have instore. These have proved popular and we now also have some reclaimed wood shelving in. I source all the bits and pieces for these creations and my wonderful Dad puts them all together for me!

Here are a selection of the ones we still have available.

These are priced from £35 and can be posted for a courier fee of £9.95.

So comments and ideas welcome and please share with friends who you think might like Elliemagpie!

Remember everything is available online and I am only a phone call away in the shop! 0161312 0934

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Elliemagpie has been open for 5 weeks!

So, Elliemagpie was opened on April 14th 2012 to a fantastic crowd and a very warm welcome from the people of Prestwich.
These are some of the pictures taken just before we opened, the calm before the storm!
The owl cushions on the bed went straight away! The addition of the bed was a last minute stroke of genius - I needed extra space to display all the soft goodies and remembered that daughter Ellie's shabby chic bed was sitting unused in my top bedroom as she has had a 'cabin bunk' for last Christmas!

 Beautiful fabrics on the custom made display shelving from Steve at A&S Joinery.

 View from the front of the shop, as you walk into the store...

And again, one the the hand painted upcycled cabinets both offered for sale and used as display in the store.

My bench! Made by my Dad for me to serve customers and cut the lovely fabrics and ribbons :)

The 'back'; my workspace - no longer looks as tidy as this and now has three sewing machines, an ironing boards and piles of project work on it!
I had to re order these pictures frames with 'A smile is the prettiest thing you can wear' as they all went on the first day!

 View from the back of the store towards the front - awaiting all the lovely customers!

 The gorgeous cabinet that went on the first day and now has a lovely new home.

The wicker hearts in the front of this picture have been a great seller - more are due in this week!

I was far to busy chatting, serving, and eating delicious nibbles from both the Cheese Place and Five!, local businesses in Prestwich to take photos on the opening day. I think my mum managed to take some, I will try and post again with these! - thanks to Kath and Louise - thanks to Barb and Joe

Since the opening I have had so much fun getting to know loads of people from Prestwich, hearing their views about the shop and what they like to come in for.
I am now stocking ranges from the following local designers:

Jane Dennerly -
Harris Tweed bags and brooches in new and innovative shapes. Unique uses of vintage silks into brooches, handbags and bows. Classic yet quirky and real statement pieces. Jane also make beautiful cards and pictures.

Loula Belle at Home -
A lancashire lass putting a bit of glamour into mundane household chores to bring out the inner goddess! Loula Belle uses retro inspired prints in stunning colours to make sexy aprons, washbags, tea towels and cushions. Loula Belle also does some fantastic kids products and gifts; brooch kits and bake sets.

Summer Willow Creative Cards -
Handcrafted cards for that special occasion. Summer Willow will also make to order and take commissions - just pop in or send me a message and we will have one ready for you!

Louise's Felted Crafts
New in this week; Louise makes sweet felted brooches, hanging decorations and keyrings; upcycling knitwear to make new unique pieces.

And also working with Eliza M to create fantastic 50's inspired dresses and skirts.
Eliza M is a regular in Sew magazine and also supplies dress patterns and kits.
We will be running an Eliza M Vintage 50's dress sewing course in July. Pop in to see the pattern or go online to book at:

Elliemagpie workshops launched this week - we had a fantastic time on the beginners learn to sew course on Tuesday and also on the Owl Cushion workshop on Wednesday.
Angie from @idesignworkshop, began the courses and will be teaching each week from now on.
More to follow on a later blog about the workshops!

I have been working away on some commissions these past few weeks and have made some lovely things!
A cute taggy for Tanya & Erin. Another order coming this week as Erin loves it so much. Also a taggy on order for a new baby and the fabrics have been chosen from the Feather & Stitch range from Sarah Watts - will be so cute!

Drawstring rucksacks for the lovely Penny who just loves her rucksacks! Since making these two beauties I have had orders for two more too - they look just ace in all the lovely fabrics!
Doesn't it look fab in this fabric!

I have also made cushions, throws for a hotel makeover and a new dress for a vintage doll - more pictures to follow on later blogs!

This week I have orders for more throws, curtains, a patchwork quilt and some outdoor birds and cushions for Joan Mulvenna's garden at  RHS Tatton 2012 (July 18th - 22nd)
More about these in later blogs!

So in a bit of a roundabout way here is how the Prestwich Laundrette was transformed into Elliemagpie!

 All painted but still waiting for that sign....

Brother in law Steve and my dad get ready to unveil the sign.

The sign and all the lettering are on. Ladders still in place and dad in the doorway!

I look forward to the next few weeks - meeting new people, more new friends, workshops and new stock! and more blogs too, now that I have promised them!

Enjoy and keep sewing! :)x