24 Apr 2015

April Favourites

April is coming to an end, with a distinct lack of April Showers to show for it, which has been lovely, has it been the same where you are? Grab a cuppa or a cheeky ice cream and lets get on with some of my favourites this month.

I have been lusting over the Custard Cream Cushion from Nikki McWillams for the longest time, with no excuse to fit yellow into my colour schemes anywhere in my home! Then my prayers were answered when Nikki announced her classic biscuit cushions in pastel tones and opened a pre order option via her Instagram . I am in love, I ordered Mint and Parma Violet and they are just so gorgeous, I may have to get the pink and blue to complete the set!

East Wick were a company I discovered via our trip to Renegade craft fair this month, I had been searching for a minty scented candle and when I smelt the Peppermint and Eucalyptus at the fair I fell in love. They are natural soy, vegan friendly and come in this super simple classy jar. I have been burning it loads, the fresh smell is so great for spring, I feel a re-purchase coming on very soon.

In a departure from my usual 'Mint Candy Apple' staple spring shade for nail polish I have been loving Essie Stones n' Roses, A gorgeous pastel coral, with this Sech Vite top coat it makes it last for ages and dries super fast, even on my bendy flaky nails.

Say hello to Caboodle Magazine, in my opinion the UK's answer to Frankie! Filled with Yummy fashion layouts, inspirational photography, Pinterest worthy finds and interviews with the young and talented.  I may be a little biased as Sew Crafty has a little advert in these pretty pages but seriously if you like Frankie but yearn for something a little less muted, Caboodle is for you! Order your copy now from the website.

Last but not least, another couple of Renegade purchases in the form of this constellation bracelet from Fleur Caroline and 'We are all mad here' ring from the Silver Shed. I have been wearing both non stop since the fair.

I hope you have had a great April and have some exciting plans for May! What are your faves this month?  If you have blogged about them, link up your posts in the comments below so we can all take a look.  Oh and some of you have asked where my calendar is from, I downloaded it from Lemon Thistle blog.

Have a lovely weekend

Sammy xxx

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22 Apr 2015

Sewing tips: Basics #2

We are just addicted to sharing our fave tips and tricks when it comes to sewing and crafts. We are diving into a second round of sewing tips today, don't forget to check out our previous tips Basics #1 and How to Fall in Love With Your Sewing MachineAlso why not check out my fabric buying tips and pattern advice from last year. Quite a mixed bag this time so lets get going....

Zips: Not sure about which size zip you need, don't panic Zips can be cut to size. If you buy one that is too long, as long as you stitch across the ends to stop the runner from coming off you can cut off the excess to make it the right length for your project.

Patterns: Make your patterns last longer by tracing them off onto greaseproof paper rather than cutting out from your pattern sheet. It means you never cut anything important away and if you need to make adjustments you don't spoil your original pattern papers.

Pattern Sizing: The big brand patterns, Simplicity, McCall's etc, often work from fashion sizing measurements not retail sizing measurements. You will often need to make up your patterns in a larger size than you would buy in the shops. If in doubt always check the body and garment measurements on each pattern and make to the size it recommends for your stats.

Fabrics: One thing we tell our customers at Sew Crafty all the time is to go home and wash their fabric before they start their projects. Even if you aren't using cotton fabric (which can shrink when washed) or the project you have in mind wont be washed afterwards, it is still worth giving it a rinse and an iron before you start to get rid of any dust or creases.

Tools: Invest in a small ruler, it is helpful to have a small measuring tool to hand so you don't always have to reach for your tape measure.

Storage: Rather than a pretty but not totally functional sewing basket for all your machine parts and sewing notions, why not invest in a tool box or vanity case. The mix of large and small compartments are perfect for keeping all those little bits and bobs in order.

Button Holes: Pop a pin in the end of your button hole to stop cutting too far and ruining your button hole.

Machine Stitching: Always check your machine top and bottom tension before you start to sew. If you have a bobbin case dangle it with the bobbin inside, if it shakes down slowly its perfect, if it falls it's too loose and if it doesn't move its too tight.

Seams: Always press your seams as you go, you will never regret it later.

Seating: Make sure your sewing machine chair is at a good height for your machine and is comfortable. But do make sure you get up and take breaks every so often, so you don't get too stiff.

Equipment: Always try and buy the best equipment you can afford. Cheap haberdashery is usually cheap for a reason. This is most important when referring to thread. The time it takes to make a garment to have the seams pop the first time you wear it is not worth the saving!

I hope these will be helpful, even if you are a seasoned machinist. Look out for our next tips post that I am working on at the moment all about Sewing Machine feet. As usual let us know your favourite tips in the comments below, we love to learn new tricks.

Sammy xxx

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20 Apr 2015

Homeware Vintage

Hello there, today I have a little sneak peek at my new abode for you and also some Vintage treasures for you to take a look at.  We all know by now I am sure that I love Vintage clothing and this extends to my home wares and luckily I have parents who never like to throw away anything good and also a some great little charity shops around me which I can delve into.

Today's treats though have come by way of my parents and I love every little story behind them and so I thought I would share them with you.

I guess I should start with the title picture.  This little beauty of a coffee table used to be in our living room when I was growing up and when one of my oldest friends popped around for a visit the other week, she remembered it, so it must be good.  I love the style and those legs, just perfect 1970's style.  It goes really well with my modern rug and sofa too.

Next up are these curtains, which I know full well are not to everyone's taste and usually Orange is not a colour I go for.  But these curtains just have something about them and have been hanging around even longer than the coffee table I think.  They started in my parents house before I was born, then into the house I grew up in, my brother had them at his first house for a while and now they are with me.  My mum thinks she got the fabric from a market as she didn't have long enough curtains for the longer windows.  So handmade also.  I have been waiting to get my own place to have these for years.

Who doesn't love a bit of crockery and having your own place means you get to keep it all for yourself.  I have been given plates, bowls and all sorts, but these soup bowls are just ace.  Obviously the blue ones need not much introduction as I would clearly love them for their colour.  I also remember using the Owl bowls when I was growing up, no wonder I love owls so much.

Lastly and by no means least, this fabric is in fact a bedspread. My mum said she used to have it on her bed when she was at home and so it has done its time.  I love the pattern and colour obviously, but mostly I love that it's something that my mum used and that I will now use.

I love that Vintage has a story and it's even better when you know that story and have a connection with it.  Brings the comforts of your childhood into your new home.  Don't get me wrong there is always a place for a little Ikea and Tiger - who doesn't love them, but knowing that something has lasted this long and will continue to last, is brilliant.

What do you have that reminds you of your childhood?  Do you have things that keep getting passed around the family? I would love to hear more.

Hope your all having a great day!

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17 Apr 2015

Sammy's Top Ten Ways to Find Your Happy

I sometimes find it hard to be a happy person. People who know me (even those who know me well) may find that hard to believe, but I have been this way all my life. Having worked in retail for as long as I can remember, I ,like many others manage to find a 'happy face' that I put on like a mask and to hide behind when life is not so rosy.

Over the past year or so I have been working on getting rid of my mask and being happy from the inside. I think it is important for everyone, naturally 'happy' or not, to have little tricks to find the best in yourself and those around you. To relish the little things that make us smile and let go of the negativity that creeps in every now and again. I wanted to pass on some of the things I have learnt that work for me, in the hope that they might work for some of you.

There is only one rule before you attempt any of the following mood boosting activities... Turn off your tech!

1. My number one will be no surprise... Get your craft on! Whatever it is that you like to do, create something, anything just for fun. Not to sell, or to give to someone just because you can. Did you know that crafts like knitting and crochet have been shown to significantly help people cope with stress and anxiety?

2. Make a list, can be a list about anything, maybe a list of goals, or dreams. A wish list of all your summer wardrobe essentials or places in the world you would like to visit, anything as long as it is a list of happy positive thoughts. Getting some exciting, happy thoughts down on paper can help you to focus on what you want in life and you never know it might be the beginning of something wonderful.

3. Watch your favourite movie. Sit down with a cup of tea and a blanket, close all the curtains and just enjoy all the things you love about being entrained by your favourite actors doing their thing. I love the film Footloose, it always puts me in a good mood and because I have watched it so many times I know all the words! Love it!

4. Do a fun exercise, roller-blading, skipping, bike riding, anything you can do outside where you can breath some fresh air and take deep breaths, oh and have fun whilst you are doing it. I NEVER thought I would say that but I really find that getting my body moving makes me feel better.

5. Call a friend, You don't have to talk about how your feeling, just have a fun chat, talk about your favourite TV show or how much fun you had last time you were together.

6. Read a book, escape for a while into a world away from wherever you are.

7. Eat something healthy and colourful. A mixed salad with loads of different coloured peppers and onions and lettuce, or something sweeter like a mixed fruit salad with Kiwi, strawberries and blueberries. Honestly eating something healthy will make you feel virtuous and it being colourful will make it fun. Why not try making it look interesting by taking time to prepare it all neatly, maybe try fruit kebabs?

8. Have a sort out. rearrange, reorganise, renovate! Try sorting your wardrobe, you might find some treasures you forgot you had? or just make room for some new bits. Sort your craft stash, organise your kitchen cupboards, whatever your thing is, it will give you a great sense of achievement to de-clutter some of the old to create some room for something new.

9. Write a letter to yourself. You can choose to write to your future self or your younger self, but make it about all the things you wish for or about all the things you have achieved. Hide it away for a day when you are feeling down and need a pick me up.

10. Treat yourself to a pamper. Have a bath or a shower, use your best products, taking time to enjoy the fragrances and feeling of getting squeaky clean. Give yourself a manicure, use your favourite nail polish and take your time, don't rush yourself.

I really hope some of those will help any of you who might be struggling to stay positive. If you have anything that you do that helps you to boost your mood, please add it in the comments, or tweet us with the #MoreHappyMe I would love to hear about the things that make you happy.

Have a happy, joyful, positive, fun weekend
Sammy xxx

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15 Apr 2015

Let's Meet: Floss & Mischief

Hello there everyone, and how are we?  Loving the sunshine I hope. It's time for our Let's meet series of course and so time for a cuppa and a sit down to look at some gorgeous work from Genevieve at Floss & Mischief.
What was the first thing you remember making?
I was forever getting crafty when I was little – from drawing and colouring in, to making Plasticine figures and pasta collages. One of my clearest memories is of trying needlework when I was about 6 years old. It was a kid’s needlepoint kit with a picture of a big red ladybird printed on plastic canvas and colourful wools to stitch with. Little did I know I’d eventually make a business out of stitching.

How did you find your creative side?
My hands usually want to get busy when I feel stifled. In my twenties I got into dressmaking as an antidote to my suited-and-booted corporate job. Later, I founded Floss & Mischief when I reached a frustrating career crossroad. Being crafty feeds my soul when I need it most.

What has been your favourite ever make? Whether that be for your business or pleasure – tell us about it.
The piece I still go ‘wow’ about wasn’t even my embroidery project, it was embroiderer JessicaAldred’s!  But I was lucky enough to help stitch it. It was an epic 1.5m tall wall hanging designed by The Partners, which we hand-embroidered and appliqued to show Fine Cell Work’s brandguidelines. As a charity that teaches needlework skills to prison inmates for their financial and emotional benefit, its concept was beautifully apt.
It took over 300 hours and a small team of prisoners and volunteers, led by Jessica, to complete the stitching. I loved how we sat round the stretched fabric to stitch together. The wall hanging went on to win several awards and I got some lifelong friends out of it too. That’s the power of needlework!

Photo credit: The Partners

What are your favourite ways to stay inspired?
I don’t look for inspiration, full stop! The more I stress about needing an idea, the more uninspired I become. Instead I choose to not even think about it. I find that if you just go about your business and keep yourself busy, inspiration eventually strikes.

Who are your favourite Designer/Makers right now?
I absolutely love what jewellers Oh My Clumsy Heart are doing right now, from their whole aesthetic to their stylish subscription box. The Alena necklace is top of my wishlist.
The first stand I always want to go visit at craft markets is another jeweller, I Am Acrylic because they bring it! They’re super creative with their event displays, so it’s always a joy to discover what they’ve done each time.
Also, I can’t stop staring at Cayce Zavaglia’s embroidered portraits. They’re so absolutely incredible, you’d think they were oil paintings, not made with humble needle and thread.
I could go on, but we’d be here all day. There are simply too many great makers out there!

What crafty item is top of your wishlist?
Ernest Wright & Son scissors. As one of the last companies in Sheffield to make scissors by hand, and a family firm to boot, they embody British heritage, craftsmanship and integrity. Their scissors are so beautifully made, they come with a lifetime guarantee! This little video of their Putter, the putter-togetherer of scissors, is utterly charming.  Who knew everyday scissors could hold such beauty?!

What do you like to do when you’re not working?
Definitely not DIY. After relocating to the countryside over two years ago, and doing DIY around the house pretty much every weekend since, I’ve had enough of it!

Tell us a bit about what you have coming up?  any little projects you want to tell us about.
We’re super busy creating new Floss & Mischief stitching products, cross-stitch patterns and DIY kits. I’m so excited about them but can’t tell you anything more just yet (that’s annoying isn’t it)! You’ll have to stay tuned to our Twitter, Instagram or Facebook feeds for behind-the-scenes previews.
Twitter: @FlossMischief
Instagram: @flossandmischief
Facebook: Floss & Mischief

We totally agree with Genevieve's designer/maker choices and love her own work!  So pretty.

We actually came across Floss & Mischief when we were at the Knitting and Stitching show, the lovely Mr X Stitch introduced her to us!  Always nice to meet a face to the name.

Which one would you choose to make first?
H & Sammy

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13 Apr 2015

Love it: Renegade Haul

If you were watching our Instagram feed yesterday you will know that we went to the first Spring version of one of our favourite craft fairs, Renegade in London.

Once again there was so much to look at and instead of our usual post about the whole event, as you can read all about them in previous posts - we thought we would show you what we bought, much more fun!

H's stash; Mouse and Cheese Earrings from I am Acrylic, Animal Coasters from Karin Akesson, Arrow necklace from A Weathered Penny, Constellation bracelet from Fleur CarolineAnchor keyring made in the I am Acrylic workshop, Leather black and silver necklace from Tiny Track.

Sammy's Stash; Bag and Succulent from Oh No Rachio, Candle from East Wick, Bag, Pencil cards, Fabric tag and note books from Oh Squirrel, midi ring from Star and Metal, 'We're all mad here' ring from The Silver Shed, cards from Emma Margaret Illustrations, the Paper Hare and Hello Harriet, Succulent from Geo-fleur, Camera print Pouch from Duck and Duffel, Window necklace from A Weathered Penny, Constellation bracelet from Fleur Caroline, Necklace made in the I am Acrylic workshop. 

Phew!  That was a lot of shopping, we did well. All new goodies for us! It was such a lovely day aswell so a pop to Rosa's for some Thai food (a favourite) and what a great post birthday day out for me too!  yey.  We really did have a truly magical day - Thanks Emma Margaret Illustrations for the very apt business card!

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