12 Feb 2016

DIY's I Want to Try

A quick little post for today, a selection of DIY's that are on my to do list. I love this peg board sign, the perfect combination of statement and storage. These chocolates are so cute and remind me of the ones I bought as a gift for my mum before Christmas, I am looking forward to having a go at making my own now. How yummy are these candle holders! so simple but they look so classy and these adorable paper bag planters look like so much fun.

Are you planning a romantic weekend with your valentine? or are you going to be DIYing all weekend like me? I will be cooking our usual Claridge pie on Sunday to celebrate with my lovely Hubby, but I have to have something to do whilst he plays X-com all day, hehe. Have a good one whatever you have planned.

Sammy xxx

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10 Feb 2016

Make it: Plants DIY

You must have noticed that plants are taking over the world at the moment, it started with succulents in cute pots and then over to terrariums.  I am not a green fingered person and so I am starting with some succulents and a spider plant or two, but I have been known to kill cacti before and so I am not sure how long either will last.

I found an airplant in Sainsburys a while back and didn't like the jar it was in and so decided that I should change it up and wondered whether I could do something that will live forever too.  So here is a little plants DIY for those of you like me who can kill something at five paces, or you just like the look of plants more than actually looking after them.
So for this Airplant DIY, I decided to do a bit of upcycling!  For this you will need: bottle/jar (I had this jar from my Glitter snowglobe tutorial a few years back), Air plant, patterned/coloured duck tape, sand or small stones and scissors (sorry forgot to photograph those last two!)

First up is to cover the jar lid, or in my case cork base that the globe jar will sit in and so this is where the trusty patterned duck tape came in handy.  I got mine from Hobbycraft, but I am sure there are loads of places you can find this tape.  I decided on the colourful zig zag pattern, so that it would go with most things in my flat.

Just put the tape all the way around the sides of the base/lid and cut off when you have reached where you started.

As the tape is a bit wider than my base, I decided to push over the edges to the inside of the base, so that it would not be seen when the globe was placed on top.

You can then place or glue your globe jar onto the base. I decided to just place it and so I can move it around if I want.  This also comes in handy for when I manage to kill said Airplant and I decide to use this jar for something else!  Ever resourceful hey!

Then, place your sand or small stones in the base of the jar and pop your air plant inside.  It is always good to have an opening for your air plant that you can get into as you will need to spray your air plant once a fortnight.

Done, that one is very nice and simple.  So I thought I would go ahead and make a different kind of plant DIY to keep you busy.  This one requires no watering at all.

For this Paper plant you will need: Card in colours of your choice, vase/jar, pencil, ruler - if you so wish, scalpel/craft knife and a cutting mat.

Firstly, sketch out your plant ideas onto your chosen card colours.  I always like to sketch onto the side I don't want to see and so all the pencil lines will be hidden.  You may want to make sure you mirror image your design if you so wish it to be in a certain direction when you put it the right way around.

Start to cut out your designs on the card, making sure your blade is sharp and you don't rip any small cuts.  I always like to do the smaller details first and so the card is not weakened for when you are trying to do smaller details.

Depending on the card you have chosen and the height of your 'plants', you may need to give them some extra strength by adding some wire to the back with some superglue.

Then you can pop them in your chosen vase/jar and you have your plant for life!  So simple.

Here they are together, looking great together if I do say so myself.  I have the feeling that I need a third plant to add to it, so maybe there might be something else to be added soon!  ooh the intrigue.

How do you like these?  They are super quick and fun to make. I love a cheese plant, but just don't think I have the skills to keep it alive!  So this is perfect. A little mini garden can now sit on my desk looking all pretty while I work.

What plants would you choose?  If you have a go at this or any other tutorial, don't forget to #livelovemake on twitter or instagram so that we can take a look.


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8 Feb 2016

February Food Roundup

Hello there and have I got a treat for you this month, pictures of food I have actually made!  Yes, you heard that right.  I have been trying to get my effort levels up of actually cooking and taking a few snaps for this section of the blog.  I can't promise it will happen every month, but I am trying, honest.

First up is this vegetable base that I use for soups, curry and ratatouille.  Its simple really, put all the vegetables in the pan to cook and take out batches for each of the other desired recipes.  This is batch cooking at its best.  I have been trying to get more of this done as not only is it cheaper, but it helps to get through all the vegetables!  Because seriously, have you seen the size of a Butternut squash, it keeps me going for days!

Next up is one of my favourite Saturday night treats, it was always Pizza night on a Saturday growing up and so just because I can't have cows milk, does not mean I should miss out.  Simply pittas, peppers, spinach and goats cheese with a tomato paste base and we are all good.

We go back to breakfast with this one and mushed up avocado on toast with poached eggs, oh yes!  Sometimes I add a bit of smoked salmon too, but it tastes just great the way it is here too.

Lastly is a recipe I adapted from a new you tube obsession of mine, The Domestic Geek has some great meal plan ideas and lots of food to put in jars.  She has spurred me on to plan a bit more for the week too, so it can't be bad.  This Mushroom, spinach and goats cheese pasta is great for lunches, next time I am thinking to add some peppers aswell - why not just add more vegetables in!  The original recipe has Gorgonzola and beef added into it, so check out her channel for more inspiration.

That's all for this month.  It's made me want it all again now.  It's one of the domestic geek's salad ideas for lunch though, so not all bad.

What's your favourite?  Are there any other chefs or you tube channels I should check out?
H, xxx 

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5 Feb 2016

Life Update February

One minute and we were all complaining January would never end then all of a sudden here we are almost one week into February! One thing is for sure we managed to cram a whole lot into last month, so lets catch up.

Sammy:  I have been busier than a busy person in Busyville so far this year, and it doesn't look like it will be slowing down any time soon, but that is just how I like it. Working from home and the new Sew Crafty HQ is the best thing, I feel very productive and motivated. I love the Pantone colours of the year this time around and I have been using them to promote some of our gorgeous products at work. We have also been getting in some new products like these patterns from Colette. I was really excited as soon as I heard that they were selling some of their patterns in plus sizes, I just had to get them in.

I had been lusting after a pair of Charlotte Olympia cat shoes for years and although I love them, I just cant justify the price tag so I got around to making a pair. Now I can't stop wearing them. The other thing I forced myself to do last month was tidy my craft room. I had to get it presentable enough to take some photos that I had been putting off for months, but it is all clean and tidy now and I came across loads of stuff I had forgotten all about so it really was worth it.

H: This month has been a bit quiet for me, as work has been so busy, but I have bought a few treats to keep my flat in new items! Of course.  These Studio Matryoshka animals have been on my list for a while and when I didn't get them for Christmas, the perfect sale opportunity meant they got snapped up!  They look so good with my gallery wall too!  Another cheeky purchase was this jumper from rad, again another sale bargain.  It's become my blogging jumper! Just give me more tea.

I have been getting on with my pottery course this month and this is some of what I have made.  Can't wait to get glazing in our last week next week.  Le pain quotidian is fast becoming one of my favourite places to go as it has a great selection of items that are dairy free! I do love going to more independent restaurants, but sometimes when you just want to eat somewhere you don't have to think about, this is a good stop. You can't beat a bit of brunch for dinner either.

Also this month we had one of our projects put into Mollie Makes in Slovakia!  This little project was a subscription bonus project for the UK Mollie Makes last year, but great to see it in print in another language.  We were also in the UK Mollie Makes again this month, with these cute mug cosies. Then last but not least the pattern that Sammy with her Sew Crafty hat designed for Simply Sewing Magazine was released with the latest copy of the mag ( issue 13) Excited does not even cover it!

So that was our January, let us know in the comments what you got up to this month.
Sammy and H xxx

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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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