28 Aug 2015

August Favourites

The weird weather month that was August is almost over and that means two things. One that our annual Makers Month is nearly here again and two that is is officially Autumn, my favourite time of year. Lets dive in to some more things I have been loving over the past month

I have been loving this home made granola that I saw on Lily Pebbles blog/vlog. I have never been keen on shop bought cereal, and although I like porridge and granola, it is expensive and usually has dried fruit in, which is not my fave. I have been making myself a batch once a week and having it for breakfast and an occasional snack too.

I have been spending a lot of time on everyone's favourite Pinterest recently, trying to streamline our blog account and build up my shop account too. Head over an follow our blog account or Sew Crafty  too keep up with all the best crafty pins.

In between pinning sessions I have mostly been chained to my sewing machine and I have been loving it. I have been working on a super secret project which has kept me pretty busy, but I hadn't realised how much I missed sitting and sewing.

To anyone who has followed this blog for a while will be aware of addiction to stationery, in particular stick notes, well this month is no different and some of my fave places ( Paperchase and W H Smiths ) are doing a great job of keeping me in supply of really cool note taking equipment.

Hope you are all looking forward to a epic bank holiday weekend, Have a good one what ever you have planned.

Sammy xxx

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26 Aug 2015

How Blogging Can Help your Handmade Business - Feature in Craftseller

If you head down to your newsagent this weekend, don't forget to pick up the October issue of Craftseller magazine, not just because it's a great crafty mag, but you may see an article with some familiar faces.

We were asked a few months ago to weigh in on the subject of how having a blog can help your handmade business.  Something we love to talk about!

The piece by Karen Dunn includes some other amazing Girl boss bloggers, the lovely Kat and Kat founders of Blogtacular, Camilla Westgaard from the Folksy Blog and Alice Tams from Birds in hats.  I know we are biased, but it is well worth a read if you are in any doubt as to whether blogging is for you and your brand.  Spoiler alert.  It totally is!

As if you needed another reason to head out and grab a copy there is also a great interview with Amanda Overs of I Can Make Shoes, who's workshops have been on our wishlist for ages.  Definitely on our Christmas list now!

We would love to know if you have a handmade business or brand and how your blog has impacted it, or if you find social media and blogging just a bit overwhelming?  What have you learnt about yourself or your customers via your blog?

Sammy and H xxx

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24 Aug 2015

Simple Styling: Workspace

I thought I would come back to a bit of simple styling this week for another nosey into my house and hopefully a bit of inspiration.  I am nearly there with my workspace and so I thought this would be a good time to show a bit of simple styling.  The rest of the workspace involves shelving and hiding things away in boxes and so not much to show there.  To start with the Table was given to me by my folks and it does extend out so a great thing to have around and the chair is from the local charity shop.

Anyway, I started with a bit of planning for this project, working out where and what pictures I wanted to use.  I have so many, oops.  Also, a mix of postcards and frames and useful things like the printers tray style box.  I don't have any shelves in my flat as it is a new build, so everything has to be added if I want storage or places to add my little nicknack's.  I wanted to create the Gallery wall effect as I really like that as a creative splurge of items.

I wanted to have pictures that inspire me and that I love.  Some of these pictures are from such a long time ago and I still love them now.
From top left - Sammy made me this laser cut on her Silhouette a few years ago.
Blue Postcard - from Paperchase.
London Scene - I bought this when I moved out of London 3 years ago, its by Lost Monkey.
Postcards - Photographer Jeff Wall Image, Paperchase postcard, Battersea power station.
Printers style tray from Tiger.
Three images in one frame - 2 outside images by Yoshitomo Naro, middle image made by a patient at Bethlem Hospital, held at Bethlem Museum of the mind.
Cat nap image by biroRobot.
Calligraphy from the Quill London workshop I did a few weeks ago on a clipboard.
Postcard of Jackson Pollock Painting.
Nailed it image by Claireabellemakes.

My workspace has a few different roles and so it needs to work as a laptop place, sewing space, crafting space and an actual dining room table when anyone comes to visit.  I will be adding storage under the table and so when the table is pulled away from the wall, it won't look too odd with the Gallery wall.  Also the lamp and sewing machine can get placed on the top of the storage.

What's on the desk: The Lamp was from TK Maxx, Candle holder from Oliver Bonas, Various pen pots and mugs, Lightbox from Violet and Percy, sewing machine, Laptop, Sewing Journal from Sew Crafty, Diary from Paperchase and coasters by Karin Akesson.  To the left of my desk is a filing cabinet that was from Lidl a few years ago (I think Ikea do similar) and my sewing box.

I think that's about it.  Full disclosure - my desk does not look like this all the time, all the crap was behind me!

So what do you think?  I love how it has worked out, all the little calculations of spacing and how I wanted it to look have come across and it's great to have a workspace laid out.  I might actually get on with all the stuff I need to do now.  What space do you use for work/play?  Do you have a dedicated space for all things or as I used to do, it was laptop on my lap on the sofa, desk for sewing and all my crap and find a space wherever I could to do some crafts.

Hope your having a good day and not getting too wet out there!  It's pretty miserable today.
H, xxx

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21 Aug 2015

Sew Crafty Sewing Journal

You may or may not have noticed that H has been taking the reins this month, she has been picking up my slack over here whilst I have been dealing with some exciting things over at Sew Crafty.  Today I can exclusively reveal Sew Crafty's first ever product release, on September 1st we are launching the Sew Crafty Sewing Journal. 

To give you a little back story, My Mum has always kept lists and notes about her sewing and crafty makes.  A few years ago when we started this blog I started doing a similar thing to keep track of all the stuff I was making for the blog and as gifts for friends. Earlier this year Mum and I were having a chat about what products we wanted to create that would also be useful in the sewing community.  The answer was right there in front of us as we sat listing and sketching out ideas, a sewing journal.  

After months of designing and making prototypes, the real thing is actually here and we are so excited to share them with you.  Let's start at the beginning, there are three different covers to choose from, the graphic spot and dot cover where the little crosses are actually scissors, the watercolour peony and succulent cover which reminds me of a beautiful print fabric and lastly our photographic cover which features one of my favourite images of our little sequin pegs.   

The inside pages is where we think our journal stands apart.  We have designed pre-printed pages filled with prompts to help you record your sewing projects.  Although if you are more of a crafter the journal still works as it is versatile enough to use for non sewing projects too! 

In-between each set of project pages there are free sketching 'Ideas' and 'Notes' pages with plenty of space to plan your next projects. The journals are A5 which we think is the perfect size to pop in your bag for making notes on the go or taking with you to pick up supplies from the fabric store. 

We wanted to make the journal something that you can make your own and use in a way that suits you, at the same time helping you to remember those little things that sometimes we forget. There is space to record the pattern you may have used as well as notes on what went right, what went wrong and the thing I always forget, where I bought my supplies!  You can easily jazz up the inside with swatches, stickers and washi tape or leave it plain for a more minimal look

If you want to get your hands on one of these Journals they will be available from my online shop sewcraftyonline.co.uk from the 1st of September 2015 priced at £12.95 (plus £2.95 p+p you get free UK shipping if you spend over £25. International delivery is our usual low rate of £7.50). If you are interested you can pre-order your copy from today! Head to Sew Crafty and get your hands on a copy ASAP.

I am so excited to get these lovelies out into the world and see how everybody puts them to use! How will you use yours? 

Sammy xxx

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19 Aug 2015

Let's Meet: London Craft Club

This month we got to have a little chat with Sonia from London Craft Club.  We are going to a Friday Late at London Transport Museum next month where she will be making your Oyster card holder look extra special for their late night opening event.  But mostly London Craft club runs workshops and meet-ups around London and their new venue - see below.  They will also be at The Handmade fair, so plenty of places to find them.  So let's hear what Sonia has to say about our random questions!

What was the first thing you remember making?
I’m not sure exactly, butt I remember a very early craft fail, one of my first and most instructional ones! I must have been about ten, and I wanted this denim A-line skirt that my best friend had. Being quite a single minded child, I persuaded my mum that I could make this skirt and that she should buy me some fabric, which she duly did. I drew a skirt shape on the fabric, cut it out, sewed it together and ended up with something that I could get one leg in. It was a revelation - I learned that measuring is really important!

How did you find your creative side?
I was always the one who could untangle tiny knots, or do the fiddliest task, even from when I was very small, so it was dexterity that led to me to making things, and experimenting with different materials was what brought out the creative side in me. But my family and friends were creative and I was always been encouraged. My granny was an artist and glass engraver, and really force of nature, and she was very influential in my early creative life.

What has been your favourite ever make? Whether that be for your business or pleasure – tell us about it.
My favourite make ever….
I studied Fine Art and when I left, my first major post college art exhibition was at a gallery called Mellow Birds in Old Street. I hung a huge static disco ball in the centre of a dark room and shone a light on it. For every spot of light the ball cast, I folded a paper box and stuck it on the wall to hold the spot of light. It took months to fold all the boxes and a good few all-nighters to install a couple of thousand boxes but the effect was well worth it. It was also a lesson seemingly insurmountable tasks are acutely achievable with sheer perseverance.

Photo by Sonia Bruce (Bownes) Untitled 1999 at Mellow Birds Gallery

What are your favourite ways to stay inspired?
What, apart from Pinterest? Talking to people! It can be quite isolated working on the admin and business of London Craft Club, and I always find the second I meet other makers, my ideas brain goes into overdrive with sheer excitement to be talking about ideas again!

Who are your favourite Designer/Makers right now?
I’m a bit obsessed with Rhiannon Palmer’s concrete jewellery at the moment, and I’m also stalking Ash and Coco on Instagram. There’s a cotton black and white jumper that I would love to make on there, I’m so into the late 90s movie-villain minimalist thing at the moment.

What crafty item is top of your wish list?
Well I have an over locker, which for years I lusted over, and I have three pairs of shredding scissors which was my most recent gadget crush. At the moment it would be more studio lights or an overhead arm tripod for my camera because I’m doing tons of photography. Ultimately what I hanker after most is a really huge dedicated crafting studio with beautiful natural light.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?
I love science – I like to listen to a podcast like the Digital Human, or the Infinite Monkey Cage, or watching Brian Cox or the Sky at Night.  Science seems so creative, and full of really passionate people who have become obsessively and wildly into the details of what they do. Like crafters….

Concrete Pendant by Rhiannon Palmer Jewellery

Tell us a bit about what you have coming up?  Any little projects you want to tell us about.
I’m in the process of curating a fantastic programme of workshops, taught by my favourite guest crafters in London Craft Club’s new venue. The workshops include casting concrete jewellery, knitting very covetable accessories, designing great motifs, an alternative Christmas cards session and much more, It’s the most fun thing I’ve done, picking all the gorgeous things I lust over and skills I want to learn, and organising it all into a great programme! It’s a change from teaching and making everything myself, but it seems like the right time for lots of fresh new stuff for the club, which is growing so fast. And I’m so pleased with the new regular venue, St Bride Foundation in Fleet St.  It’s really central, its’ a beautiful space and it’s stuffed with Fleet St’s news printing history so it feels really grounded its location. I’m doing a Kickstarter campaign to help secure the venue and teachers more than six months in advance, and to help me launch an exclusive Craft Kit of the Month, so it’s a really busy time – but it always is!!!

Phew! Sonia has a lot going on and we definitely want to see that workshop space when she is in.  That concrete necklace workshop looks like a must too!  I want that disco ball in my life too!  What a great uni project to do, I can bet it didn't feel like it halfway through, but worth it in the end.

Might be a little in love with Rhiannon Palmer's work too - oops.

Really looking forward to meeting in person on September 11th and of course pimping up our oyster holder!

H & Sammy

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17 Aug 2015

Espadrilles with The Makery

Yesterday we got the chance to visit the new workshop space for The Makery in John Lewis, London.  We are big fans of The Makery as you may know from our posts about our visit in 2013 and again in 2014 and so we were so happy when we found out they were opening a workshop space in London and even more excited when we were offered the chance to join a workshop!

We decided to go for the Espadrilles workshop as neither of us have ever made shoes before and so what a great workshop to try.  Also we thought we would let you join in the fun by showing you our photos as well as adding their You tube video as part of this post.  So that you can make your own at home if you can't get to Bath or London for a workshop.

We had to bring our own fabric to the workshop - but luckily we have our own 'little' stashes at home, ahem. I went for rockets and spaceships and Sammy chose colourful chevrons. Although as the workshop space is on the 4th floor in John Lewis, you can always buy a little something from their fabric department if you forget or don't have any to bring.

We started by cutting our fabric using the pattern pieces for the shoe size we are.  We cut 2 pieces of each and then 2 each of the lining fabric. One set is for the front and the other is for the back and sides.

Then, we made sure they were right sides together before sewing around the edge, making sure to leave a gap so that you can pull it through.

Once we had sewn around our pieces,  we cut notches in the curves of the front piece where our toes will be and the bottom of the back piece to make the curve lay flatter when turning them through. 

We then turned them through to the right side and pressed them flat, making sure to have points in the end of the front piece and turning in the gap and pressing down.  You won't need to sew this shut as it will be sewn in place when you construct the shoe.

Now time for sewing your pieces to the soles.  Starting with the back and sides piece, find the middle of the fabric and pin it to the middle of the back of the shoe, you then pin around the edge of the shoe at an angle (so the pin goes into the sole), with the fabric flat to the sole.  I am sure this is where the video above will come in real handy.

Then it's a case of blanket stitching around the edge of the sole, making sure the loops go to the inside of the shoe, not on the edge of the sole - again I am sure the video will explain much better than I can, but you can see below how the stitching sits.

Once all the edges are in place, you need to straight stitch up the side of the back and side piece to the front piece so that it all stays together when you put them on.

Then voila, you are done - new shoes!  I can see how these would be really addictive to make, Sammy has already bought another pair of soles to play with.

What pattern would you choose?  I think if I was going to make another pair,  I might go for classic on the outside and then a fun print inside, or slightly different prints for the back and front pieces.
Thanks again to The Makery for giving us the opportunity to attend the workshop, we had great fun!


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