3 Feb 2016

Make it: Weaving in the Round

Ever since I spent a week driving to and from Austria a couple of years ago I have loved weaving. I took a small loom and some yarn in the car and learnt a few basic techniques whilst my Husband drove down the autobahn.  I have loved learning a new crafty skill and really enjoy being able to do something with wool and fibres that I wouldn't knit or crochet with.

Anyway, I recently saw a pin that made me very excited. It showed an embroidery hoop being used as a round loom! My little mind was blown (it doesn't take much these days) after some research I had a go and now I am hooked on weaving all over again.

Now that I have practised a little, I thought it would be something that you guys might like to try too. Once you have the basics down I bet you will be as addicted as me!

You will need: An embroidery hoop (the one I have used here is a 10") strong string or thread, a selection of yarns, a wool needle or bodkin and some small scissors.

Step 1. Take the outer ring off the hoop and put it to one side, take the thread and tie it around the edge of the inner hoop leaving a inch or so of thread to tie later.
Step 2. Pull the thread straight down over the bottom of the opposite edge of the hoop, take it over the edge and to the back.
Step 3. Bring the thread up and over the downward thread.
Step 4. Then bring the thread over the front of the hoop about 1 inch away from where you started.

Step 5. Continue taking the thread over the edge and over the other side in a figure of 8.
Step 6. Make sure to keep the centre crossing over, until you reach all the way around the hoop.
Step 7. Before threading the last strand take the thread around the centre a couple of times to keep it all together.
Step 8. Take the last strand up to meet the first thread and tie it to the end you left at the beginning.

Step 9. It should look something like this, you can choose to put your threads closer together but I would start with them at this width as it doesn't take too long to finish.
Step 10. Starting at the centre, take a length of yarn on a wool needle and start threading in and out through the strands.
Step 11. Keep threading in and out back and forth.
Step 12. Use your needle to keep the yarn tight to the centre and keep moving around the hoop.

Step 13. To finish off each colour simply thread the yarn back down in through the previous layers and snip away the excess.
Step 14. Keep going, changing colour when you want to. Mix it up with different colours and textures to keep it interesting.

These are some ideas for simple versions using regular and chunky yarns but they would also look great with some more textured yarns, ribbons or fabric scraps. You can of course take them out of the hoops and use them as place mats and coasters, but I love the look of them as art on my walls in the hoops. They would bring a quick splash of colour to any space for very little cost, always a winner in my book!

For more instructions on weaving and different kinds of techniques check out this cool blog The Weaving Room, Kate has lots of really great tutorials and videos on lots of different kinds of weaving.

As always, if you have a go at this tutorial please #livelovemake on Instagram or Twitter, as we would love to see them.

Sammy xxx

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1 Feb 2016

Pinch, Punch, first of the month

Hey there and welcome to February and that good old phrase 'pinch, punch, first of the month'!  I don't know about you but this is when I really get stuck into the year.  I find that January is just all a bit lacklustre, after all the fun of December, January is full of lack of money, depressing weather days, the thought that we didn't do enough with the last year and the promise of more, just not knowing how to go about doing it.

February however is still cold but has brighter days, there is Pancake day and bright and colourful Chinese New Year and this year we have a Leap year, so an extra day of fun to the month.  I just feel that February is full of so much more promise and I really want to get stuck in to making and planning.

You may have noticed a few more fun posts around here starting to happen and we are busy working behind the scenes on lots more fun content for you, anything you would like to see?  Let us know in the comments below.

We are working on some fun new projects too, so look out for those.  Sammy has been working on loads of fun ones for Sew Crafty too - her own Dress Pattern for Simply Sewing magazine amongst one!!!  How exciting and I really couldn't be prouder of her! xxx

We have booked our summer holiday with a few friends too and that definitely helps getting through these winter months with something to look forward to!  It will also be my one year anniversary in my own place in February!  I can't believe how quickly that has gone!

What are you guys looking forward to in February? I am skipping over Valentine's day and the Girl asks Boy 29th February date of course - maybe that's on your list!?  Tell us what you want to see too.


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29 Jan 2016

The Craft Trends that you will see Everywhere in 2016

Last years craft trends post was a great help to me when getting inspired for DIY's so I thought I would update it for this year with some new themes that we have seen emerging in our crafty travels. Hopefully they will help to inspire you too!

House shaped shelves, cushions and bed frames are just some of the best examples that I have seen so far of the first of our 2016 trends. The little Scandi house shape isn't new but trust me it will be all over the place this year. It will dominate especially in kids products where clouds and raindrops have been key decor pieces in the last few seasons, the pitched roof house is set to join the party.

Paper folding and origami have been making a comeback over the last few years and this year it will be the paper craft to learn and improve. Watch out for more and more of the wooden templates like the one above and packs of specialist paper in fresh modern designs to keep up with the trend.
Getting organised is on the top of everyone's resolutions list, but with the resurgence in the planner community and companies like Kikki K coming to the UK, journals, Filoxfax and pretty planners are going to be huge this year. Anything you can make to decorate up your choice of organiser is going to be a winner. From stickers to paper clips and dividers to protective bags and motivational dashboards. Get ready to get organised!
Now if you are looking for a pattern or design to add to your go-to favourites this year make it this one. Palm print or any large tropical looking leafy plant print is to 2016 what the pineapple was to 2015. Everything palm print all the time!!
Hale  //  Vogue  //  Heju
For the first time Pantone have chosen two colours that they believe will be the colours of the year and they are already the most popular colours of the last few years.  Mostly, I think, because everyone knows what they look like without having to look them up, what was up with Masala! It is the combination of the two that is the secret ingredient this year. Using the soft warm Rose Quartz with the cool Serenity, even better fading one to the other will be crafting gold. 

We would love to know what your favourite trends are for this year, comment below with the trend you are looking forward to including in your projects for 2016.

Sammy xxx

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27 Jan 2016

Make it: Wire Rings

It's been a while since we have done any Jewellery on the blog and indeed a while since I have made any at all.  I went through a phase of making lots and then got distracted by other crafts I think and so all my jewellery findings have been left in a box.  So time to take them out and make some simple wire rings to adorn your hands.
You will need:  Round nosed pliers, wire cutters, wire, beads, sandpaper.

I made a few different styles of ring and so I will start with a simple spiral ring and show you how you can change it up to whatever your style is.

Step 1:  Cut a long length of wire - longer than you think you will need.  It just makes it a bit easier to work with rather than the whole roll.  I used a thick wire here of about 3mm, but whatever size you prefer.

Step 2: Start coiling the wire around your finger to get it to the size you want.  You can make this ring go all the way up your finger or keep the spiral quite short like I ended up doing.  It is entirely up to you how you prefer the ring to look.

Step 3: Cut off the wire and using the sandpaper, sand down the ends so that you don't end up scratching yourself or someone else when you have the ring on.

Step 4:  Make sure that your ring is nice and even and has the right spiral to it.  I made sure that the ends were pointed towards the curve so that they don't stick out too much.  Then you are done.
 Here is how the ring looks when it is on.  I prefer the simplicity of just the silver, however ...
If you like beads or a more detailed look, you can just add a few beads onto the spiral before you close up the ends.  You can glue them in place so that they don't roll around or even off the spiral when you are putting it on.  I chose some nice purple beads I had so that you can see how it would look.
Next up, is the Bead wire ring.  Again, another really simple ring to make and looks so effective.

Step 1: Cut a length of wire again to longer than you think you need and start to spiral it around your finger to get the desired size.  I chose a really thin wire for this ring as I knew I wanted it to have the wrap around effect without being too chunky.  This wire is around 1mm thick and is very thin, so can only take small beads.

Step 2: Cut off the wire when you have your desired length, then roll over the ends of the wire so that they don't stick out and hurt you when you put it on.

Step 3:  Find the beads you want, I went with some lovely turquoise (of course) and grey beads I had that were small and simple and could be stacked up if you prefer the beads further along the wire.  I kept it to just 7 beads so that they sit at the front of the ring.

Step 4: Put your beads into the middle of the spiral and then depress the spiral and wind the ends of the wire around each other so that the ring is clamped together and held together.

 Then you are done.  A really pretty simple ring.

I love quite simple rings and so that's why I love these.  You can add more beads of course to the spiral, or add hanging beads off from the main spiral.  Maybe I can show you how to make more dangly style rings another time, if you guys would like to see it?  Would you like to see more Jewellery posts?  I am thinking I might have got myself into it again.

If you do end up making this or any of our other tutorials, please do tweet or instagram us using #livelovemake and so we can take a look.  We love seeing what you guys do.

H, xxx

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25 Jan 2016

Let's Meet: Alice Tams

We are back this year with our Let's meet series and this month we finally got a chance to have a chat with Alice Tam's of Birds in Hats fame!  I have loved her work since the very first Renegade we ever went to and so it was a great chance to meet up with the woman behind the scenes. So over to Alice.

What was the first thing you remember making?
I remember drawing an RSPCA advert when I was about 6 from a magazine, featuring a box of abandoned kittens... except I made them all fluffy and happy looking! I think I missed the point.

How did you find your creative side?
I'm not sure I ever went looking for it, it feels quite innate, though I must credit Mother Tams for providing me with the crayons and sketchbooks! I've been a prolific 'draw-er' since I can remember, though I get creative block like anybody else.

What has been your favourite ever make? Whether that be for your business or pleasure – tell us about it.
Tricky to chose! There are a few birds that I'm really happy with (my Flamingo, Great Tit and Little Egret are my current favourites!) - I'd like to learn a new skill this year though as I've been illustrating full time for quite a while now and perhaps resting on my laurels technique wise.

What are your favourite ways to stay inspired?
The internet is a blessing and a curse, it puts seemingly infinite inspiration at your fingertips but you can also lose hours/days if you're a serial procrastinator like me! Despite living in London for the past 7 years I find the natural world the most inspiring. Whether that means travelling, escaping to the country for a weekend or visiting a natural history museum, it always works for me as a tonic and an idea top-up.

Who are your favourite Designer/Makers right now?
Illustration wise I'm a big fan of KatieViggers of Eight Bear - Jewelery wise I'm slowly buying my way through the Wild Fawn collection by Emma and Sally at Hand Over Your Fairy Cakes makes some pretty fabulous pins.

What crafty item is top of your wishlist?
Either a potters wheel and a kiln to enable my growing ceramics obsession or a super fancy graphics tablet I can draw directly onto the screen with. I've wanted one for years and I think it might actually happen in 2016!

What do you like to do when you’re not working?
I read a lot, love a good TV series to get my teeth into or quite boringly, a walk in the park! If money and time wasn't an issue I'd probably spend 90% of my time travelling though, my next big trip is to China and Japan for a month in the Spring and I cannot wait.

Tell us a bit about what you have coming up?  any little projects you want to tell us about.
I'm just finalising the designs on a new series of pins I've been working on, can't wait to get them out in February. I'm also plotting some big (really big) prints this year - think life size Flamingos and Emperor Penguins! 

Just look at all the Birds in hats, how cool!  Gotta love how Alice makes them really come alive on the page and gives them such great personalities.

I have definitely got my eye on the colouring book, added that one to the 'things to buy' list.

H, xxx

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22 Jan 2016

Cosy January Wishlist

It is definitely starting to feel a bit more like winter round here I don't know about you but everyone I know seems to be coming down with something nasty... including myself! The best remedy I can think of is to stay at home snuggled up cosy and warm.  These are my winter picks for staying warm all winter long, and on a budget too.

Sammy xxx

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