27 Feb 2015

February Favourites

Monthly favourites time again and this month is an odd bunch I will admit, but worthy all the same.

My strawberry slicer, I know a lot of people will say its a silly gimmick and that I am perfectly capable of chopping my own strawberries, but anything that gets me excited about eating fruit for breakfast is a winner with me.

The powerhouse of blogging that is Dana aka The Wonder Forest has a second blog all about blogging (I can Build a Blog), which I have been a fan of for a while now. When Dana started a YouTube channel last year I was an instant fan. I have been catching up this month and loving her no nonsense advice. I'm just not sure if I am brave enough to put our blog up for review but I love the advice she shares about being a better blogger. 

I picked up this shade of nail polish when I was at Bicester Village last month, not because it was Michael Kors, but because I LOVED the colour. Envy is the perfect Pink/Purple shade with a great formula and a stubby flat brush, Yum!

Accessorize always hit it out of the park with pretty stuff for your tech and this season is no exception.  I was torn between the golden pineapples and this Flamingo... as you can see the flamingo won.

Finding these little beauties in my fave stationary place Fox and Star was a game changer, MT Nano is a handy gadget you use to make neat cuts in your washi tape. It's the little things.

How was your February? What have been your favourites? Are you loving a TV show? Anyone else loving the new season of Suits? Let me know in the comments below.

Have a great weekend, but pop by on Sunday for a little competition....

Sammy xxx

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25 Feb 2015

Sewing Tips: Basics #1

We had such a great response to our post last month about How to Fall in Love With Your Sewing Machine, so we thought we would share some more of our sewing tips with you today. We are starting with a few basic things and we are planning more of these so if there is anything specifically that you would like tips on, maybe bias binding or zips? Let us know. Also why not check out my fabric buying tips and pattern advice from last year. Lets get going..,..

  • If you're not sure which colour to use on a jazzy fabric try and stick to the most dominant colour or the colour of the background. If there isn't an obvious choice go for the darkest colour, it will always show less that a lighter thread. 
  • The same theory applies when trying to match a thread colour in general, if you can't find a perfect match go a shade darker as it will show less.
  • Threads will always look darker on the reel than off it as a single strand. Guttermann threads have a little magic trick to help, their bottoms are loose so you can twist them to free the thread loose to check it against your fabric. 

Machine needles:
  • Most brands of machine needles will fit any domestic sewing machine. When you are looking at needles their sizes (ie. 90/14 or 80/12) refers to the thickness of the needle and therefore which fabric they should be used on. The lower the number the finer the needle and the finer the fabric you will sew with that needle. 
  • There are different needles for different types of fabrics too. Jeans needles are especially for working with Denim and densely woven fabrics, Ballpoint needles can be used for jersey fabrics, but also for silk. Stretch needles are for use with Lycra or swimwear fabrics and quilting needles are designed to go through lots of layers at once. Try and stick to using the right needle for the right job. 
  • We advise that you mark up your needles so you know which are which when they are out of their packets. I use nail polish, but you can use coloured sharpies. The sizes are written on the needles but it is so tiny it can be hard to read. 
  • If you have put a specialist needle in,  remove it when you have finished the job and put it back in the packet so you don't forget which needle is in your machine. 

Tricky fabrics:
  • If you are sewing with waxed fabric or pvc, leatherette or anything sticky you will need a Teflon foot to get a smooth stitch. Not go one of those? Dive into a drawer and use some trusty Scotch magic tape (the one that is slightly misty) to cover the bottom of your normal foot. It is a great alternative until you can get a hold of the real thing. 
  • Sewing jersey or anything stretchy or slippery? Sandwich your fabric with tissue paper to get an even stitch. Or use scraps of interfacing which you can then remove by tearing away when you have finished.
  • Tack, tack, tack. It may seem laborious but it will be worth it in the end.

  • Taken your measurements but still unsure which size to cut out from your pattern sheet? Take a garment similar to the one you want to make that you like the fit of and lay it over the pattern pieces. This will give you a good idea of whether you are on the right track with sizing.
  • If you are working with tricky chiffon or jersey fabrics try cutting out your pattern with a rotary cutter and mat. It stops the fabric from moving around as much as when you use scissors. 

  • Always keep your best scissors for cutting only fabric, cutting paper (even pattern tissue) will blunt them faster. Also avoid using them on beaded or sequin fabrics unless you remove the embellishments from your seam edges first. Avoid wired edge ribbon too.
  • Don't waste your money on cheap scissors, especially pinking shears. Generally speaking you get what you pay for with scissors. A good pair, well looked after should last you a lifetime. 

What are your top tips for sewing, Is there anything else you need or want to know more about? I have had a lot of questions about bias binding lately, is that something you would be interested in as a post here?? Let me know if there are any specific areas that you want tips about and I will see if we can do a post on them.

Sammy xxx

P.S. The gorgeous sewing poster in the first photograph is by Rebecca Stoner, you can now buy them at Sew Crafty Online, Yay!

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23 Feb 2015

New Home haul

So big news in the H camp this week, I have moved!  It's been a long time coming, but finally I have my own space!

I am sure there will be some other features along the way, but for now I thought I would show you a few bits and pieces I am coveting to make my space my own.  Now just to wait for the bed to arrive!

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20 Feb 2015

J'adore it: Haute Couture

I have always been fascinated by Haute Couture.  The art of fine sewing, bespoke sewing, painstaking detail and hours of labour to produce a garment so exquisite it is barely believable.  It is fashion at it's highest level.  It is fabric artistry.  I love watching the catwalk shows on YouTube and recently I have been coming across some videos from some of the masters of haute couture and just had to share them with you.  The attention to detail is staggering, it is a joy to watch these amazing artists create these garments.  I literally can't stop watching!

The first two videos are from Dior and the cutest thing about these is they are creating miniature dresses of famous Dior designs, they are exquisite.  I also love the video that takes you on a tour around the exhibition where these miniatures were on show (read more about the exhibition HERE)

These other videos are from Chanel and Schiapparelli showing the processes involved in their couture collections. They are totally fascinating. 

What do you think? Are you itching to get your hands on an embroidery frame and have a go? Or is it all a little too much and you would rather watch from afar? Is it not your kind of thing at all? I would love to know your thoughts. I am completely addicted to watching these if nothing else!

I hope you enjoy watching these videos as much as I did, if only to appreciate the work that goes into each piece of clothing.

Have a lovely weekend
Sammy xxx

Images and videos via Dior, Chanel and Schiaparelli on YouTube.

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18 Feb 2015

Let's meet... Wolf & Moon

This month we had a chat with Wolf & Moon who make the most amazing Jewellery!  H has a few of their necklaces and shared the love with Sammy for Christmas with a pair of earrings, so it must be good!  We sat down for a chat with Hannah to find out a bit more about her.

What was the first thing you remember making?

When I was young, my mother really encouraged me to draw, paint and make things.  She had this story that she used to tell everyone about how I had gone off on my own and made a working umbrella out of cardboard and coloured tissue paper when I was a toddler! I do actually remember the finished umbrella, but I’m afraid I can’t remember actually making it.  I had a Winnie the Pooh plaster of paris kit that I loved, and I remember painting on my artists' easel for kids!

How did you find your creative side?

I think it has always run in the family - art was especially encouraged by my mother! Her father was an aeroplane designer and my parents are both musicians.
What has been your favourite ever make?

I was very proud of my Fine Art degree show - a culmination of 3 years hard work! It was an installation of photography, sound and film which lit up a dark room using light boxes, slide projectors, tv’s and a super 8 machine. 

What are your favourite ways to stay inspired?

Travelling always inspires me, whether it is going to another country or sitting on the bus from one side of London to the other.  I love a day visiting an art exhibition and then sketching ideas in my notebook in the cafe afterwards.

Who are your favourite Designer/Makers right now?

My good friend Tessa Metcalfe is a fantastic (and wonderfully eccentric) jewellery designer.  I also love Paloma Wool, Elke Kramer, ArieleAlasko and Alfie Douglas.

What crafty item is top of your wishlist?

I’m desperately saving for an Alfie Douglas bag!

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

I can’t wait to plan a trip abroad somewhere.  This will always include some sort of nature or hiking excursion - I can’t stay away from mountains or forests for too long.  I love taking photographs on these trips, always on film; 35mm and medium format.

Tell us a bit about what you have coming up?  any little projects you want to tell us about.

I am working on a new collection which will bring together photography and jewellery much more than I have done before. It is inspired by travels in Norway last year.

It sounds all really fab and can't wait to see the new collection - any excuse for new Jewellery! I know Valentine's day has just been and gone, but surely you can show your love all year around!!??? ha, ha.


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16 Feb 2015

Valentine's Swap

A few weeks ago I saw via the wonderful world of Instagram that Ladybird Likes was setting up a Valentine's swap.  Now, I am not into Valentine's Day and it doesn't really bother me either way if people celebrate it or not.  I think it's nice if you want to and just as okay if not.
Anyway, I do like a good swap and so I thought I would get involved.  My swap partner was Emma and Zoe from Ladybird Likes had given us our Instagram names so that we could do a bit of finding out about the person.
Mine arrived last week, but I decided to wait until Valentines day anyway, as why not.  I got loads of lovely things and Emma had totally got that I am into owls and tea!  I can't imagine why she would have got that feeling!  There were chocolates and sweets too, which came in handy for my packing yesterday!  The Chai tea will be a little celebration for later in the week, but more about that another time.
Thanks so much to Emma and the lovely things she sent, I am loving the postcards too and they will adorn my walls soon.
Hope you all had a lovely time whether you celebrated the day or not!


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