Make it: Tassel Earrings

I am super excited that statement earrings are a thing again, mostly because it means that I can get my DIY on! Tassels are first on my list and what all my friends will be getting in their stockings this Christmas so I thought I would get a head start. I made a few different pairs some with readymade mini tassels and some with DIY ones in colours couldn't get online. I picked up a few colours on Etsy from Pretty Pretty Beads and My Vintage Charms both based in the UK. They also have jewellery findings if you don't already have some in your crafty stash.

Here is how I make my own mini tassels. You will need a fork, embroidery thread and sharp scissors.
1. Start by wrapping the embroidery thread around the fork, if you want them all to be identical count the number of times you wrap around.
2. Take a length of thread and wrap it around the body of the tassel and tie it tightly. wrap it around a couple more times and tie it once more before cutting off the excess.
3. Slide the tassel off the fork and snip the bottom loops open.
4. Trim the bottom edge of the tassel to neaten it up.

So once you have your tassels ready you can make yourself some earrings. To make some beaded tassel earrings like the navy ones above you will need, 10 mini tassels, wire, beads, earring findings and a pair of pliers.
1. Take a small length of wire about 15cm long and thread five tassels onto the centre of the wire.
2.  Loop the wire in two and start to thread your beads onto the wire.
3. make sure you thread an equal number of beads onto each side of the wire, I have used about 14 beads on each side.
4. Make a small loop on one side of the wire and twist it underneath to keep it in place.
5. Take the other side of the wire and wrap it around the bottom of the loop you just made and cut off any excess with your pliers.
6. loop your beaded tassel pieces onto your choice of earring finding and trim your tassels to make sure both earrings match.

Once you have nailed making your own tassels and you have some jewellery basics under your belt you will be addicted to making these I guarantee.
These ones are made by looping jump rings through the tops of the tassels and attaching them to small lengths of chain.
With these, I made longer tassels using a piece of cardboard instead of a fork and used gold thread to tie the strands together.
I had an old pair of bead earrings that I dismantled to make this pair, I liked the wire shape so I just replaced the beads with tassels.
These were made with ribbon end findings that I had in my stash. I again wrapped the thread around a piece of card then glued them into the ribbon ends before removing the card and clamping them closed and snipping the ends to the length I liked. 
So there are a few different ways to make tassel earrings. I would love to see if you make some of these. I can't wait to give a pair to each of my girls this Christmas, it will be so much fun to wear them at our festive meal out, I, however, will be wearing mine all the time until then!

Sammy xxx

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Makers Month: Adventures & Tea Parties

Hey there, well we are nearly at the end of our Makers Month and today we are chatting to the lovely Joanna from Adventures & Tea Parties about her instagram #ColourMyEveryday project she did for the first time this year.  We thought you lovely lot would like to find out more too and so we had a nosey around for you.

Tell us a little about you and Adventures & Tea Parties

Hi, I’m Joanna from Adventures & Tea Parties, a creative lifestyle blog and accessory brand. I’m a fan of all things creative, obsessed over music, like my tea very strong and one day I’d like to own a dog – I’ve already decided on the name!

I run my business full time as well as being a freelance writer and photographer. In spring 2016, I turned my life upside down (in a good way) and moved to beautiful Somerset, where I’ve thrown myself into all things creative, including becoming an Etsy team leader, going on courses (next up is a book art course, then lino printing) and making wonderful, creative friends. And, those friends encouraged me to run my first ever Instagram challenge, #ColourMyEveryDay.

How did the #ColourMyEveryDay tag come about?

Being colour obsessed (one of the themes in my shop designs), I had been looking for a colour themed Instagram challenge to take part in but I just couldn’t find one. So, I got thinking one day, why don’t I create my own challenge!

What did you want to achieve from it?

With the challenge my main goal was to discover and appreciate colour every day by seeking it out in everyday items, in the great outdoors, around the home and sharing my findings with fellow colour obsessed folk on Instagram. I hoped that a handful of people, mainly my mates, would join in but it evolved into something bigger than that.

Has it exceeded your expectations?

It totally has! I honestly couldn’t believe how many people got excited about joining in and then did join in, with more and more people getting involved and sharing their wonderful photos as the word spread about the challenge. It far from exceeded my expectations; it blew my mind and I loved how engaged everyone was, liking, commenting and most of all, encouraging each other. I knew Instagram had a strong community vibe but the challenge really emphasised that for me.

What else has come from the insta tag?

Before I started the challenge, I had never designed a graphic in Photoshop before but to advertise the challenge, I had to learn how to use it. That was a huge lesson but it gave me the confidence to do something I’ve been wanting to do for ages, design my first enamel pin. And so, as the challenge gave me confidence to do just that, I decided to base my first pin design on #ColourMyEveryDay

As well as increasing my own skill set, the challenge led me to meet many more like-minded people on Instagram and a request to run a photography styling workshop, which is exciting!

What would be your top tips for someone planning their own tag project?

First up, choose a theme or topic that you’re passionate about and that you want to do. Secondly, plan it well in advance and thirdly, give your followers plenty of notice of the start date and the prompts; lots of followers like to plan their shots in advance.

Would you do it again?

I certainly would! It was such a wonderful experience and has led to things I had never imagined would happen when I was grappling with Photoshop to create that graphic.

What are you planning next?

I have lots of plans for #ColourMyEveryDay. In fact, the prompts for a week-long challenge that starts on Sunday 22nd October will be released on 1st October, where we can explore the gorgeous colours of autumn and with the launch of my brand-new website too, I now have an entire area dedicated to the exploration of colour and the challenge itself. I plan to fill this with lots of colour themed fun, so watch this space!

We love a bit of colour over here at LiLiMi, which is ironic as both of us mainly dress in black and grey!  ha ha.  But we do love to see a new # come along and make everyone think more brightly about Instagram.  It should be about sharing and fun, rather than feeling that people are not looking. Which I know is hard when you run a business, but the more fun you make it, people will follow, maybe eventually.

see you in October!
H & Sammy

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Makers Month: The Workbench shop

Hey there, so another week, another maker to treat you to for Makers Month.  This time we have a husband and wife team that make up the great The Workbench Shop.  They make products for designer/makers and people everywhere who want something beautiful made of wood mainly, but I am sure they could turn their hand to most things if asked! ha ha.  They also happen to be the wonderful human beings who bought Hello Sunshine up and so they are a family winning combo really!  Lets have a chat with Janet and Tony.

Tell us a little about The WorkBench Shop
We are a small fledgling company started and run by a husband and wife team.
We make bespoke display stands for designers and makers to show off the things they create at markets and craft fairs.
We also make and install wooden items for around the home such as garden gates, shelving etc and will consider pretty much anything people ask us for.

How did you start the business?
Tony has worked in the timber industry since he was 15!  The last 37 years with the same Nottingham company.  In 2015 & 2016 he underwent surgery to replace his arthritic knees.  Very shortly after the second operation he was made redundant!
In 2010, I was made redundant by a Nottingham computer repair company.   At that time, I was helping to take care of my elderly parents who were getting increasingly more dependent on outside help.  So, I took the opportunity to take a part time job that enabled me to concentrate on them more.
Sadly, my parents passed away within 2 years of each other leaving a massive, huge hole in both our lives as Tony had also taken on the role of carer whilst I was at work.
Anyway, there we were, two empty nesters with only one-part time job between us!  So, what did I do?  I handed my notice in!  I wanted us to concentrate on this small company that we had tentatively started when Tony was made redundant.  We started off by selling some vintage pieces on eBay that had come from my parents’ home.  Pieces that had been treasured for many years and that I wanted to see go somewhere they would continue to be treasured.  Also, we both had a great love of wood and handmade things that we wanted to share with others.  My Dad was a carpenter/joiner and I grew up watching him work in his shed creating things for the home.  Pretty much like Tony does for his family, He is the amazingly talented creative behind what we do and has also spent many years making stuff for craft fairs for our daughter Jo.

Have you always worked for yourselves?
No, we have both previously worked for other people.  Which is what makes this venture so exciting for us. To start something new based around family and the home.

How did you decide to make products for designers/makers?
Tony has always made things around the home and garden.  He’s made beds, bureaux, shelving, cabinets, garden benches etc and helped our daughters with their school and university projects.
Then Jo our daughter (hello Sunshine) designed a display for a craft fair that she was doing and asked her Dad if he would create it for her.  It generated lots of interest and was a great success for her.  That gave us the idea that we could probably help other designer/makers in the same way.

What would be your ideal make?
An ideal make would be to work on something unique and that we have confidence in doing.  Something on which we can offer help, suggestions, and advice and see through to completion.  For example, the jewellery stand for Esther (Petrichoralia) or the shop displays for Rhea (Handmade Nottingham)

How do you find working with designer/makers – do you find you are making more bespoke pieces?
We always find it a pleasure to work with designer/makers.  We have met some wonderfully talented people and hopefully made some new friends.   Ideally, we like to produce what they design but we help with suggestions and ideas.  We love to meet people face to face to discuss projects.

Where do you see Workbench Shop going?
The sky’s the limit really!    We would really like to have enough work to be making and creating at least one project a week with a dedicated workshop full of tools and gadgets to help with this.  It would also be fabulous if designer/makers thought of us in terms of ‘the people to go to’ for bespoke display stands.
We would also love to develop the vintage side.  Maybe have an area in Hopkinson’s of Nottingham or somewhere similar to sell the selection of vintage items we have which will enable us to look out for more pieces on our travels.

Tell us a bit about what you have coming up?  Any little projects you want to tell us about.
We have been working on a market stall display for a shoe designer/maker in London which is exciting and we have recently been contacted by a well-known gallery shop regarding some work they might want us to do.
We love coming up with new and fun things to put in our Etsy Shop such as our dominoes clock and we have new ideas for trugs and garden planters etc.

Whose products do you like most? ( I told them not to pick you Jo!  he he)
That’s a tough one!  There are many designer/makers that we follow on Instagram and we have seen at various craft fairs and markets around the country.
We particularly admire people like Rhea of Handmade Nottingham and Lucy of Two Little Magpies in Beeston who work extremely hard to promote and sell for their creative community.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?
We love to get active visiting and discovering new places.  We like cycling and walking.
We also like to rummage in charity and antique shops and car boot sales looking for inspiration and ideas for our etsy shop.

Loving all the work that The Workbench shop are getting up to, all the beautiful wood and made so well.  You should defo check them out next time you want some craft fair pieces, you can find them on Etsy too.  Also, how cute is this pic that Sunshine Jo did of them!  Just had to put it in.

H & Sammy, xxx

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Makers Month: Stitchsperation

So for our second chat for Makers Month we sat down with the lovely Charlie from Stitchsperation.   Sammy has long been a fan of her work and we just can't get enough of it.  So bright, colourful and all kinds of different to the normal cross-stitch kits.  So lets have a chat and see if we can find out a little bit more.

Tell us a little about Stitchsperation.
Modern typographical cross stitch kits with hand painted fabric. I design every pattern and hand paint every piece of fabric in every kit, no two are exactly the same. You stitch the pattern over the painted part of the fabric making it part of your finished design. This results in bright colourful wall art and a huge sense of pride when you're finished!

How did you start the business?
I started Stitchsperation after looking for cross stitch patterns to make as gifts for my friends' wedding, these particular friends were too cool for any of the patterns I had found online, I couldn't find anything that I thought they would like to hang up in their home... to be honest, I couldn't find any that I wanted to hang up in my home either! I was scrolling Pinterest one day and saw the countless typography/lettering pins on there, many on watercolour backgrounds. I suddenly though, why don't I paint some watercolour fabric? (I was sure I had pinned a tutorial on how to do that!) and then design my own pattern for them? I pulled out my water colour paints and fabric medium, painted a few bits of even weave and then designed a massive cross stitch pattern on graph paper. 'Shit just got real' was the first pattern I designed - little did I know at the time, that shit really had got real!

While I was stitching it up, I kept having ideas for more and more designs and realised that no one else offered cross stitch kits where part of the finished design is painted on the fabric you stitch onto. So I did loads more research into fabric and paints and dyes and invested in some software, so I no longer painstakingly draw out every stitch by hand! I spent a year researching, designing and stitching my first 5 patterns and Stitchsperation launched in September 2016. I was accepted as a NOTHS (Not on the high street) partner in November and things have grown from there!

Have you always worked with embroidery?
No. I have always been into textiles ever since I was young, I had a few years out where I made jewellery but moved back to textiles in about 2010. I started with quilting, inspired by my quilter mum and developed a bit of a fabric obsession! I loved sewing but was just a sewing machine kinda girl, I did NOT like hand sewing... or rather I didn't like the injuries I gave myself with sharp needles! I decided I needed a hand sewing project to do in the evenings in front of the TV,  so inspired by a lovely friend who did a lot of cross stitch I decided to give it a try - yay for blunt needles! I started with a freebie kit from CrossStitcher magazine, then moved onto patterns from Satsuma Street and The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery.  I still quilt, I share my quilty journey over at @SydneyRoseDesigns, I'm currently running the #GreatBritishQuilter IG challenge with my quilting partner in crime @sarahashfordstudio.

Do you ever feel the pressure to change how you work to adapt to people's wants?
I do. But then I snap out of it and remember that it's my business and if  it's not 'on brand' then I won't do it. I get lots of suggestions for kits which is awesome but I don't always go with them. I already have a huge list of things I want to do and not a lot of time to do it in so it has to be just right to make the cut!

Where do you see Stitchsperation going?
Everywhere! I don't know! I often wonder where I would like this little business to go.  I definitely want to launch many more kits and other products too, I'd like to get into wholesale and perhaps teach classes and publish books... and... and... and...the list goes on!

Tell us a bit about what you have coming up?  any little projects you want to tell us about.
Well, Stitchsperation turned one this month so I released a free PDF cross stitch pattern download and printable wall art on my site for everyone who 'joins the tribe' at I have some new mini kits I'm trying to find time to finish and release and I'm also working on a secret project which should be ready to launch before Christmas, all being well! Watch this space!

and just for a little fun, a few just plain frivolous questions.

What was the first thing you remember making?
Wow, good question. I spent most of my childhood creating something, even if it was a mud pie! The first thing I can remember making was a long stitch tapestry kit. I can't for the life of me remember what the picture was but I do remember feeling very proud that I had finished it and all the stitches were straight!

What do you like to do when you’re not working?
Um, more work! I'm a bit of a workaholic - that's what happens when you love what you do!  If I'm not stitching up my latest new release for Stitchsperation I'll be making bags or quilts or cushions for Sydney Rose Designs or working on sewing commissions. I think quilting is probably the thing I do to chill out but I haven't worked on a quilt for a few months now, I do have a couple of quilt commissions I need to get working on! Oh I also recently learned to knit thanks to my lovely friends Helen at @FredaMossDesigns
See, we told you it was AMAZING!  All kinds of beautiful and so vibrant.  Just deciding which one to do first is the main problem.

Do go and check out Charlie's work and let us know what you think.

H & Sammy, xxx

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Makers Month: Women who create

We are back with Makers Month for September and what a month of treats we have in store for you.  We are going to be chatting to some business folk and some makers who will of course impart their wisdom over to you guys.  Cos we all need some wisdom sometimes right?!?!  Here's me looking for the adult in the room!

First up, we are talking to the lovely Amy from Women who Create.  We are both going to the Brighton weekend coming up in October and are planning to get lots of ideas for the blog and Sammy for her shop too.  I see serious notebook and pen jotting and getting the glasses on for some serious talk!  So, we thought it would be a great idea to ask the lovely Amy to tell us a little bit more....

Tell us a little about Women Who Create.
Women Who Create UK is an active community for women in creative business/women who use creativity in their non-creative businesses to grow, share knowledge /advice/expertise/experience and support one another through events, services, skills, meet ups, tools and more.

Why did you start WWC?
To fill a gap in my creative business life! I realised that I had outgrown my previous craft business but wanted to evolve the parts of that I still loved from the previous 4 years that felt like the true me.

It really all began when I was at a low ebb after moving from Brighton, where my creative career had begun, to Nottingham. When I had time to really evaluate where I saw myself then and what I wanted in the future. I decided I wanted to leave behind the fast craft parts of my biz but was super passionate about the amazing community of makers and creative business owners I had cultivated. I loved the events and creativity but was worn out by craft commissions, hen parties and what I felt was an oversaturation of the market.

So I created a new series on the blog to quench that new creative thirst whilst I decided what to do next! This was ‘women who create things – the interview series’ I started by reaching out to peers and friends who were makers to test the water, and then took the leap to contact women who I admired greatly in other creative circles. As I created more connections and evolved the blog series I began to imagine the idea into a business! Events, meets ups, an online community and groups… it felt exciting and like me again!

What are your aims for the business?
To grow purposefully whilst also keeping small and special! To create an online space where a community of women in creative business/women who use creativity in their non-creative businesses can grow, share and support one another through events, services, meet ups, tools and more. Eventually I’d love a studio again., where I can work and run WWC, but also offer affordable work space for women starting their creative businesses or looking to evolve into a creative career to nurture their ideas/projects.

Do you think women can benefit from each other more?
Hugely! In fact I think it’s the way forward. There are so many masculine/male led projects/resources and services around but they often just don’t fit the way many women work. They are not intuitive or authentic enough. There is a gorgeous and inspiring energy that arises when a group of women work together or help and support each other’s ideas, vulnerability and creativity. For me its less about the Girl Boss trend, because I find that a little harsh and a somewhat masculine a genre.

Tell us about your business weekends, you had your first one in Bristol and now there is one coming up in Brighton

Well this is really my biggest passion project right now.

WWCweekend events offer a weekend of creative inspiration, relaxation, confidence building, slow crafting and business/career motivation for women looking to connect with likeminded folk and spark changes in their life and career. Bringing together individual business expertise of 6 self-made creative entrepreneurs our events are about sharing creative business skills and tools that are slightly different to your usual run of the mill training.

Our first weekend in Bristol was by all accounts an amazing experience and I feel so lucky to have been able to bring my dream to life! The women who attended brought their own special magic to the sessions which only made them more special and valuable.

What you can expect from a WWCweekend is that you will leave the weekend with a wealth of practical and creative skill to empower your next steps and future planning. A vibrant mix of personal experience, accredited technique and intuitive learning. You will have also spent a weekend becoming part of a fantastic community, meeting a group of equally amazing women who are on the same path as you.

Our Brighton event coming up at the end of October is no exception. This time we are welcoming additional coach Lola Hoad, founder of One Girl Band and Alice Bettany, herbalist and founder of Sacred Seeds. That’s 3 inspiring sessions on each day with plenty of time in-between for alone time, personal journaling, tea drinking and discussion.

Where do you want WWC to go in the future – aspirations
I have big plans for WWC and have already started creating a new website which will incorporate the blog, a membership and a special affiliate scheme… I can’t tell you any more just yet but I am so very excited and energised by the possibilities and plans I have for this little business! We have also launched a podcast which has been somewhat challenging to make technically but has also opened up a whole new exciting audience to reach and engage with.

A bit of advice for people thinking of starting their own business
If your idea excites you, makes your mind race and scares you at the same time… its probably exactly the path you should follow. But expect a lot of hard work and for some things to fail. You will learn and grow from your mistakes. Embrace the help of your peers but always be true to your own ideas and voice. Be you, that’s your own authentic super power.

What are the first things people should do before starting their own business?
Be realistic and honest to themselves about the resources (time money and skills) that they already have. There is no point aiming way to high and causing yourself unnecessary stress and damage. Start small and plant the seeds of your business. Get all the facts and figures down and grow your audience. Work to your strengths!

Tips on how to find your style/your idea
They should both be authentic to you because that’s what sets you apart from the millions of other women on the planet. Try not to follow trends. Get your ideas down on a huge piece of paper and map it all out! Play to your strengths.

Moving on from an idea - How to know when to let go
If it doesn’t inspire you or feel fun when you are working on it then its probably time to let go. Or perhaps you just need a break and to find a new evolution of your idea! We are constantly growing and changing so why would our ideas stay the same? No successful business stays the same! My business is intertwined with my lifestyle and my beliefs so for me its just something I do every day and I am excited and often nervous to grow! But nevertheless, it has grown as I have.

Amy has some great advice and we cannot wait to go to the weekend in Brighton soon.  Lots of lovely new ideas for us and that means lots of new things for you guys, what's not to love!

H & Sammy, xxx

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The Secret is out ...

Well hello there, we have something very special for you today, we are launching our very own Pin!  Yay!

We have been working very hard behind the scenes on the 'One of a Kind' pin which is our first foray into pin-land, or product of any kind so we really hope you like it.

If you look at our menu bar at the top of the blog, you will see a shiny new Shop tab, where you will be able to go and buy the pin.  They cost £7 each with £2.95 for UK P&P and £3.95 for international. We only have 100 pins so they are limited edition and we won't be making this design again so grab them while you can. Each pin comes pinned to a hand numbered card with a black rubber pin back.

The pin was inspired by our years of friendship, the amazing people that we have met and the choice to do what we love. We are all one of a kind, but we don't have to do it alone.  In a world full of self-doubt and anxieties, this pin is a daily reminder that you are amazing just the way you are.

H & Sammy, xxx

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