2 Oct 2015

Make it: Faux Marble Cushions on Oh No Rachio

We are guest posting on the Lovely Rachel's blog today with a tutorial to make these lush marble effect cushions. Head over to Oh No Rachio to see how we made these beauties. Rachel is away on the trip of a lifetime in Japan and has a batch of awesome bloggers filling in for her whilst she is away so keep your eyes peeled for some great guest posts over there over the next week or so.

If you are ever interested in having us guest post on your blog get in touch at liveit.loveit.makeit@gmail.com

Have a lovely weekend.
Sammy xxx

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30 Sep 2015

Makers Month: Super + Super Retro Lampshade Tutorial

Its our final day of Makers Month and what a treat we have for you today.  We  spoke to the very lovely Amy at Super + Super who are based in Brighton and now Nottingham, who gave us one of their lovely tutorials from their Printmaking book.  Go check out their other books too, they have Embroidery, Papercutting and Crochet too.

So over to Super + Super.  This is one for the textile lovers and is a slightly more technical project. Try to source some second-hand or vintage fabric to give this 1950s-inspired print a little extra authenticity.

What you need:  Old birdcage-style lampshade frame, Up to 39in (1m) of plain white fabric, Scissors, Pinking shears, Pins, Fabric ink or paint, Sponge roller, Small wooden block, Cotton string, Embroidery needle and sharp, Thread, 39in (1m) ribbon, Tape measure.

1. Remove any remains of old fabric covering your lampshade frame. Measure the top and bottom diameters of the lampshade. The biggest measurement will be the length to cut the fabric to.

2.  Now measure the height of the lampshade. Once you have these two measurements, you need to add 5⁄8in (1.5cm) at each end for the seam allowance.

3.  To make the stamp take a 20in (0.5m) long piece of string and wrap it around the width of your wooden block and tie in a double knot at the back. Then wind the string around the block about eight times. Move the string around a little until you are happy with the spacing.

4.  Pour some ink onto an old plate and load up your sponge roller.

Tip! Sponge rollers are cheap and are the best way to spread your ink evenly, especially on bumpy surfaces such as this string creation.

5.  Working from left to right or vice versa, print in straight lines across the length of your fabric. Turn the block 90° to the left and right between each print to alternate between horizontal stripes and vertical stripes.

6.  Once you have covered the entire surface, hang the fabric up to dry. You can speed up the drying process with a hairdryer.

7.  Pin 5⁄8in (1.5cm) hems along the longest sides of the fabric, which will be the top and bottom of your lampshade. Later these will be used to thread a drawstring through to fit the fabric to the frame.

8.  Sew along the length using straight stitches in a colour of thread that matches the fabric. You could use a machine for this if you have one. Secure at each end by sewing a few stitches backward and forward at the start and finish.

9. Now, with the right sides together, pin the two short ends together and sew 5⁄8in (1.5cm) in from top to bottom. Secure in the same way as you did in step 8.

10.  Now press the fabric to fix the ink and remove any creases, then turn your tube the right side facing out. Check it fits over the largest part of the frame, then remove again. Using your embroidery needle, thread long lengths of string through the top and bottom hems, gathering as you go.

11.  Place the fabric over the frame and pull the strings to gather around the top and the bottom edges of the frame, securing with a bow.

12.  Take your ribbon and tie it around the neck of the shade to pull the fabric into shape. Finally, readjust the string at each opening before knotting securely and trimming any excess length off.

As you may know H is a massive fan of printing and so this is such a great tutorial to try printing out on your kitchen table with simple materials.  You could also print tea towels or t-shirts in this simple way.  What would you print?

Thanks to Amy and Super + Super for the great tutorial, you can take a look on their website or facebook page for more and follow them on Instagram @supersuperhq.

And Thank you for reading all our Makers Month Posts, we have had great fun once again with our themed month of Maker joy.  We hope you enjoyed them too, which was your favourite?  Let us know in the comments below.

See you Friday!
H & Sammy

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28 Sep 2015

Makers Month: Claireabellemakes top 10 tips for selling at craft markets

Craft fairs and markets are our favourite way to connect and shop with designer/makers. We get to have a chat with the super talented folk that create the handmade things we love. But lets face it they can be daunting for sellers who spend a lot of time creating alone. We asked our lovely friend Claire, designer and blogger at Claireabellemakes, to share her top ten tips for getting organised and selling at craft markets to make the whole thing a little easier to navigate.

1. Feedback – If the market is one that is new to you, make a point of contacting vendors that 
have sold there before to ask how they found it. The best markets I have done have been those that were recommended to me by others. Ask the organiser about footfall and what kind of marketing they will be doing to promote the event.

2. Do a mock set up – Each fair will have a different sized booth or table, so be sure to measure out the space provided to see how much stock you might be able to display. I like to tape out the table size in my studio then work out how I can arrange stock accordingly. Take a photo. Then, when you arrive at the fair, you will have a reference picture and it will be quick to set up!

3. Ask for help – Personally I find fairs to be one of the most exhausting aspects of my business and they can often be unpredictable. I did one market which was in a gazebo outside during December. I had anticipated it would be cold, but I didn't realise how cold I would get after 8 hours of standing behind a stall. Ask friends to bring you hot drinks and extra socks when needed! As I also have health issues, I often ask a friend to help with my stalls, especially if they require travel to the venue. Having someone there who can relieve you for a rest period or loo break is invaluable. You could offer to pay them a small fee or even make them something custom as a thank you. I will always pay my helper’s travel and give them lunch and then we decide between us how they would like to be repaid for their time.

4. Take a ‘useful box’ – I like to bring along a box of useful items that I could need for any fair. This box includes pins, string, tape, scissors, chalk, notepad, pens, pegs. It is invaluable to have these items on hand and although you may not need them for every market, you will make friends with people who are in desperate need of string or tape as they wont forget you! I also make sure to bring a stamp with my web address on in case any business cards run out. Sometimes you can never tell how busy a market will be!

5. Take water and snacks – Some markets can be long and with travel, set up and set down, you may work long periods without a proper break. Be prepared and take plenty of water with you, as well as snacks. You will be so pleased to find an apple in your bag once you hit the train home and your fair fatigue is setting in. 

6. Keep cash safe – I used to take a cash tin to markets, but felt very uneasy about leaving it when visiting the ladies even though it had a little key. In comes the Bum Bag, or as the Americans call it, the Fanny Pack. I had one in the 80s and it rocked my world, so I made sure the one I use for markets is just as amazing. Cue this amazing glitter bum bag from Beksies Boutique. It helps to keep all cash on me as I then know where it is at all times.

7. Accept cards – As well as taking cash, I always make sure to accept card payments at any markets. Customers are likely to spend more if there is an option to use a card. Portable card machines such as this one from Payleven, are really easy to use and connect to smart phones via Bluetooth. There are even options to send receipts to customers and having a machine will provide your business with credibility. 

8. Offer deals -  I want my market customers to feel as though it is worth visiting my stall, so will often offer exclusive deals for that day. For example, 3 cards for £6 instead of £2.50 each. Share these offers on social media prior to the event and it may make people want to visit you just for the deals!

9. Inventory – Prior to each market, make a list of all stock you wish to take along and print this out for your records. Each time an item is sold, tick it off on the corresponding inventory list. At the end of the day, you can check stock against items sold and ensure that each sale is accounted for. It takes a bit of preparation, but saves tons of time when cashing up at the end of the day and even when you are filing your accounts.

10. Network – Each market opportunity is a fantastic way to network across the community. Get to know your stall neighbours and follow them on social media after the event. Keeping in touch with other vendors could lead to collaborations and opportunities.

Thanks for having me today guys! I've really enjoyed sharing my tips on preparing for craft markets and I hope your readers will find them useful. Why not take a look at my visit to one of my favourite markets ever, Renegade in London or a video of my time as a vendor at BUST Craftacular.

Thanks for sharing your tips Claire.

Sammy, H and Claire xxx

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25 Sep 2015

Makers Month: Designer/Maker Favourites

Monthly favourites time again and this time I am sharing some goodies from my designer/maker treasures that I love the most.

I am literally in love with this needle case and scissors case. A collaboration between the lovely Floss and Mischief and British textile designer Rosie Drake-Knight. It is such lovely leather and looks beautiful  in my sewing box. For more from Floss and Mischief check out our interview with Genevieve from last April.

This little pouch from Duck and Duffel is home to the hardrive that stores all photos for Sew Crafty Online, precious contents I think you will agree. I love the quirky shape and the fact that it is a little padded make it perfect for keeping my hardrive safe and sound when I am lugging it back and forth from work. 

I have no shame in saying I bloody love Oh Squirrels pencils! I know that there are loads of places out there that make these now, but none of them will have a pencil that says 'Don't be a Knobhead' do they! While we wait for Katie's new and improved website take a look at our interview from earlier this year.

This beautiful illustration is by Ella Goodwin, a combination of two of my greatest loves, Sewing and Cats.  I am lusting after so many things from Ella right now, her cat cushions are to die for!

Finally is this yummy necklace is from the gorgeous girls at Frilly Industries the only issue for me was choosing which pair of beautiful carved wooden scissors to buy. Read our Let's Meet with them from back in the summer.

I would love to know if you have any handmade favourites, link up your fave designer makers in the comments below or tag us in Instagram @liveit.loveit.makeit

Have a lovely weekend, are you in London? off to Crafty Fox Market ? A lot of our faves are going to be there, why not head down and pick up some favourites of your own?

Sammy xxx

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23 Sep 2015

Makers Month: The Refashioners 2015

It's not often I remember how or when I found a blog, but in the case of Portia Lawrie's blog Makery.uk I remember specifically. It was September 2013 and was at work searching for good examples of customising to use for a window display for Sew Crafty. I came across Portia's pashmina/t-shirt re-fashion and I knew then that it would be a blog I was going to have to keep an eye on!  

This year saw her take a monthly column in Simply Sewing magazine, build her very own sewing shed and launch the third season of The Refashioners. The series designed to bring the sewing community together in an online group project like no other. We had a little chat with the lovely Portia and she filled us in on everything you need to know about it. 

Hey Portia, for those who are new to it, tell us a little about the story behind the re-fashioners? 
The first series launched in 2011 with 6 participants in total and running over a week only. Participants were sent a variety of secret garments by me; with the challenge to turn them from "Meh" to amazing and share the results and the "how to" in the hope that it would inspire others to get refashioning...I wanted to raise the profile of refashioning. Shout about it's ecologicial and economical credentials and show just how creative it can be and encourage people to look at the "fabric" they have at their fingertips. It's all just fabric after all! Fast forward to 2013 and the second series. This time doubled in size and running over a fortnight as opposed to a week with eleven participants. Again, I sourced all garments and the participants had NO idea on what they were getting. (Evil laugh!)
The aim this year is to make this series bigger and more far reaching than ever before. To get as much of the sewing community refashioning in August/Sept and beyond, as we can. So far it looks like we're achieving that! With 20 awesome blogger inspiration posts that ran throughout the whole of August; now the community challenge is gathering pace too. Looks like large swathes of the sewing community have taken up the call to "get shirty" with us! 

How was it approaching all the amazing people who were involved this year?
I'm always nervous when I approach the bloggers and stitchers on my wishlist for the series. They're usually on there because I admire them for some reason. When you admire someone and you ask them to join you in something, you really really really want them to say yes. But of course they have the option to say no too!! Which means a potentially gutted Portia, lol! Thankfully the majority of those that I approached said a resounding yes; and BOY did they not disappoint this year! I always feel incredibly privileged to host such talent in my little home on the web. Still pinching myself!

It must have been fun watching the blogger entries roll in? Was it intimidating to then have to post your own re-fashion? 

Ha ha! You are NOT kidding! It's kinda fitting for me, as the "instigator" to close off the series I think.  But as the series unfolds (I would squeal with delight every time I saw the next blog post roll in to my inbox!) and the standard of pure genius becomes apparent...well!  I mean, really, when you're the one that threw down the challenge in the first place; you have to come up to scratch yourself, right!! What was really interesting though, was how many of my fellow participants also confessed to feeling nervous themselves. The blogger part of the series is in no way a competition. Each participant has their own style; their own way of working; their own uniqueness. That's the point. But when you see who you're playing alongside, there's an understandable temptation to "up your game". I think most of us felt that to be honest. But from a place of "not wanting to let the side down" rather than trying to better anyone else. I was no exception to that feeling of course. I'm not "the best" at refashioning just because I came up with The Refashioners. I just refashion in a way that suits my taste and my ability. I just made sure my refashion was done and in the bag before I saw what everyone else was doing, lol! If I'd have seen what everyone else was doing first I may have been influenced, intimidated or otherwise distracted. And I'm really pleased with my little kimono idea! I think it holds it's own ;)

Where did the idea for opening out to the public come from?

Ah, the question should really be "Portia, why on earth didn't you open this up to the whole community before now you muppet?!"

Really it's something I should have done before I guess. But  I was still streamlining the whole concept and initially I didn't know if people would even respond to the idea or be interested in taking part. Back then refashioning was very much the poorer cousin of conventional dressmaking. After the second series the response from my readers was amazing and there seemed to be an increased appetite for refashioning. When I announced this years series, right off the bat I had people asking if they could join in and how they could take part too. Well, what could I do except put together a massive prize package and say....go on then...show us what you can do! Have you seen some of the entries coming in on IG and Pinterest??! Wow!

Are there any of the re-fashions that you are thinking of re-creating for yourself? 
Gosh, they're all so awesome! But if you're asking in terms of what might actually suit me, anyone that knows me knows I'm a flan of simple lines and simple construction. So a version of Ute's simple white shirt, that kicked off the series, is in my future for sure.  I like Wendy's interchangeable denim dresses and might apply the collar swapping concept to some silk shirts and colour block them. Erin's wrap top has me wondering if it's a style I can carry off. So that may appear at some point in a slightly different interpretation.  I will also be making another shirt kimono! I genuinely like the concept. The one I made is the first incarnation of the idea and I'd like to try it again with a few minor mods. So I'm on the hunt for shirts again, ha ha!

What has it been like working with Simply Sewing Magazine? Do you think working with such a new magazine has helped raise the profile of re-fashioning? ( do you have a photo of one of the things you have done for Simply Sewing?)
I've been so lucky with Simply Sewing.  They are very easy to work with and I've really enjoyed being part of the magazine right from issue one. I was so chuffed when they first contacted me to be a part of it! Even in this increasingly digital and virtual world, print adds a specific credibility to a venture. So I'm incredibly grateful to the team at Simply Sewing for throwing their support behind The Refashioners series. I think the profile of refashioning has been growing slowly over the last few years and I sense it's gathering momentum now. Long may that continue! 

Do you have favourite refashion from your archive? ( ie one that you have made) can you include a photo? 
My favourite is usually my most recent. But aside from that the refashion above  that I did for Simply Sewing (image below) is one of my faves. In terms of the one I wear the most, it's my banded tee (image above). It's just so comfy; I reach for it as soon as it's out of the laundry again. I'm a total comfort dresser!

Who is your favourite Instagrammer? 
There's too many!!! IG has become my preferred hangout in terms of social media. I don't know why it took me so long to discover it. Blog posts take time and planning to put together and the subject matter kinda needs to warrant a blog post in the first place! IG is great for sharing snippets of ideas, thoughts etc  and seeing what everyone else is up to as well! I've found myself having conversations with people from all over the world, in real time (sometimes silly o'clock my time!) So cool! It's like a micro blog, twitter and  pinterest all rolled into one. Awesome!

Thanks Portia! 

We have been so excited to see the growth of this series and we have loved discovering lots of new sewers to follow too. Customising and 'refashioning' is a big love of both H and myself. We are looking forward to seeing all the entries for the public competition #therefashioners2015 . Totally do Not envy the job of deciding that one! 

If you want to join in the fun and be in with a chance of winning the frankly A-mazing prize package worth over £700! Including a Sew Crafty Essentials Sewing Kit and a Sewing Journal head over to Portia's blog to find the details.

Sammy and H 

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21 Sep 2015

Makers Month: DIY Dreams

Well hello there!  We are getting towards the end of our Makers Month here, booooooo.  So I thought a little selection of other DIY's that H particularly has been really wanting to make recently.  Probably all to do with having my own place and starting to run out of money to do all the fun stuff.

I found all these great DIY's online and so I will share where I found them.

From Top left; Fall for DIY is definitely a favourite of ours to look at for inspiration for all kinds of tutorials and this Copper Magazine rack does not disappoint! It's the colour and finish of the season, copper and makes a great place for all the Mollie Makes and Simply Sewing magazines that seem to stack up!  Magazine addict anyone!

Top right is over to Flossie Teacakes and this cool rope bowl.  We all need lots of storage space and why not make this great bowl to match your decor and of course have some fun in the meantime.  I can see fruit bowl, key bowls and just bowls for bowls sake in my future.

Bottom left, well just look at it!  I found this amazing succulent dish on Little House on the Corner.  We all know that succulents are just the coolest thing ever and that we need somewhere to put them.  I love the idea of having a little garden of succulents, especially as I live in a flat and don't have a garden of my own.  Now, just to not kill them!

Lastly, but by no means least I found this tutorial on Hester's Handmade Home to turn a book into a Tablet holder.  I met Hester briefly at a B&Q Masterclass with Charis Williams a few weeks ago and have been a little obsessed with her tutorials and You tube Channel.  She also has a book called Furniture Hacks, which has some great ideas.

I think that might be enough to get me started, I also have some Valspar paint from the B&Q masterclass event that I am itching to paint everything I own with!

What's on your wishlist to make at the moment, have any of these DIY's given you an idea of what to make next?  Let us know in the comments below if you have made any of these or there is something you have on your wishlist to make. Check out our Pinterest board DIY Dreams for some more inspiration.


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