Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Who's Who: Claireabellemakes

Number two in our Who's who series for Makers Month is the one and only Claire from Claireabellemakes.  We have been lucky enough to meet her at various events and so can say she is a thouroghly nice person too!  Let's see what makes Claire into Claireabellemakes.

Who are you?
I'm Claire aka Claireabellemakes and I live in Cambridge, UK. I spend my life riding bicycles and making jewellery and accessories, as well as crocheting and knitting. I have a huge stationery obsession and adore sending snail mail. I am also a crazy cat lady which I'm really not ashamed of.

What do you do?
By day I'm a PA for science professors, but I run an Etsy store alongside the day job. All the items I sell are inspired by my home city of Cambridge such as bicycle jewellery (the bracelets have been a massive hit!) and Scrabble creations (Cambridge is the biggest word geek out there). I also write a Blog, Claireabellemakes, which is updated 3 times a week with DIYs, giveaways and general handmade chit chat! 

How did you start?
For me, the blog was a natural place to begin alongside Twitter. I built up my network of crafty friends and began to write about my handmade life. A couple of months after the blog was established I started the Etsy store and managed sales even before I opened! I've always been a creative person, but in 2012 I felt it was the right point for me to start my passion having just finished my graduate studies. I found myself with all this time I previously spent studying, so what better way to fill it that with crochet Totoro's and Etsy makes?!

What's Next?
Claireabellemakes had a SUPER busy summer with the Tour De France as people went nuts for the bicycle jewellery!! Now the focus has moved onto Scrabble Wall Art and making custom pieces for customers to display in their homes or gift as gifts. I've also been working on a makeover for my craft studio so will be sharing this on the blog very soon.

What advice would you give yourself if you could go back to the beginning?
Take a refresher photography course right away, don't wait 2 years! Beautiful images get you a long way in the creative world. 

Isn't it all beautiful! Loving all the Bicycle's and scrabble pieces.  Go check out Claire's blog too, for she has always got a new tutorial to show you.

H & Sammy

Please Note: All pictures are owned by the interviewee and so should not be copied without permission.

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Monday, 15 September 2014

Makers Month Hidden Treasure: We Make London

Image courtesy of
We are big fans of this month's Hidden Treasure and what better way to celebrate Maker's Month, than with a shop that showcases British Designer/Makers in the heart of Camden, London.

Last year we attended their 5th Birthday celebrations and they have gone from strength to strength with visits to other shows and markets alongside their shop in Camden.  You will be able to see them at The Handmade Fair this weekend, so go check them out if you are going for a visit.

Image courtesy of
They have over 30 designer/makers selling a range of items from Jewellery and homewares to children's clothes and gifts.  There is so much to buy for yourself and as presents of course.  This is where H first came across I am Acrylic and Mister Peebles and so there are definitely some great things to be found.

Is there a place like this in your town?  There is a shop where Sammy lives called the Craft Coop which do something similar and H's work, The Lightbox always pride themselves in having designer/makers work in their shop.

Image courtesy of

We love little places like this and think they should be everywhere!  What a great way to support designer/makers and get the real life shopping experience at the same time!


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Friday, 12 September 2014

Makers Month: Folksy Finds

I think Folksy gets the raw end of the stick sometimes when comparing it to other sites of it's kind. I am going to confess that in the past I have not been a frequent visitor to (or even a fan of) the British handmade market place, always heading for Etsy or Not on the High Street as my 'go to' for all things designer/maker. I feel I and many others have been doing the site an injustice.

I have in the past felt that it was a bit 'village craft fair' or 'Homemade' as opposed to 'Handmade' (there is a difference).  However I have been scouring the site lately for home grown UK talent and have been very pleasantly surprised!

I was always under the impression that the site was full of 'Folk' style crafts, but knowing that some of my favourite makers have recently opened shops on Folksy made me take a closer look. They are in very good company, there are some absolutely beautiful hand-crafted items available.

I have spoken about presentation before in my 'What Will it Take to Make Crafting Cool' post earlier this year and I still feel that poor photography lets a lot of Brits down when it comes to showing off their products on many of these sites.  However I have discovered some really great new makers to add to my ever growing Wishlist.

Do you sell on Folksy or Etsy or NOTHS? I would love to know your thoughts on why you like where you sell, Why you chose that platform etc. Let me know in the comments below.

Sammy x

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Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Makers Month: Who's Who: Corby Tindersticks

As you know we are in Makers Month here at Live it. Love it. Make it and so we couldn't leave out one of our favourite features, the Who's who.  We have a bumper crop for you this month and so we start with Corby Tindersticks.  Let's find out all about them.

Who are you?
Hello! I'm Carly Joleene Gledhill, designer, maker and chief Martini stirrer at Corby Tindersticks!

What do you do?
I design and make a collection of toys, clothing and ace stuff for kids (and grown-ups).  Corby is a brand with a love for childhood obsessions, collecting, making, digging in the mud and making art with pasta! These are all things which inspire the design process. I still get excited with little things that I loved as a child (like cool sticker books and collecting) which is why I try and incorporate all of these aspects into the designs.

How did you start?
I won a colouring competition at a local park at the age of 7 and realised that being creative was my calling. I started Corby as a creative escape from a boring day job. It began as a hobby and sprouted into a little business which soon took over my life and kitchen table.

What's Next?
I have just finished designing the Summer 2015 range which is behind schedule as usual! I'm really excited with the new collection as it has an approach to the previous collections.
I have also collaborated with a good friend of mine Catherine Lobster on a Poco Nido/Corby project (Poco Sticks!) which launched at Playtime Paris this summer.
I'm also a co-founder of the Dot to Dot London trade showroom which took place this July at the V&A Museum of Childhood. We had some ace brands joining us this season and the show is growing so it's really exciting to be part of it! phew!

What advice would you give yourself if you could go back to the beginning?
You'll get there in the end!

Sounds like Carly is keeping pretty busy and we just loves the playful nature of Corby Tindersticks.  When we get older we often loose the fun of finding out new things and so going back to your childlike state encourages adventure.  Something we definitely like here at Live it. Love it. Make it.

Keep an eye out for next week's Who's Who!
H & Sammy

Please Note: All pictures are owned by the interviewee and so should not be copied without permission.

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Monday, 8 September 2014

Makers Month: Choosing a Craft

Embroidery Hoops
We have been asked a few times recently and struggled to answer a question that I'm sure a few of you would also have difficulty answering ''what is your favourite craft?''

Over the past few years of co-running this blog, I have realised more and more that I find it so hard choose! how do I choose and I know Sammy feels the same.

String Art
I always default to saying that printing is my favourite craft, but I honestly don't have the space to set-up my printing stuff in my house-share, so I don't actually end up doing it as often as I would like - I do try to shoehorn printing in at work though!

For my job I spend a lot of time making up samples for the workshops we run and so I feel that I am constantly making, but most of the time I am not making things I like would like to be making for myself. They do, of course, turn out to be pretty cool, even if I do say so myself!

Some of my makes at The Lightbox
We are both bloggers who love crafts rather than designer/makers in the sense that we do not sell the things we make, I think I would find it hard to choose what to make and sell. I am interested to find out more from any of you who are designer/makers..

Did you get in to making as a hobby that grew in to a business? or did you choose something you want to make and then stick to it or did you change your focus after a while? or even, do you make other things in your spare time any-more or is it all about making stock now that you have a business?

Wrap Bracelet
I used to love Jewellery making and card making, but now don't do it quite so often, mainly gifts for friends.  I guess, for me, it comes down to having quite a creative job in the day, sometimes I just want to hang out with friends rather than make stuff for myself. I always wondered how Designer/makers cope with falling out of love with their craft? Does doing it as a business take the joy out of it for you?

Kindle Pouch
I have a pile of sewing ideas and projects to do and if it wasn't for the blog, I wouldn't get half of them done. Having the blog gives me the permission and drive to do something about all those ideas I have running around in my head, so I suppose it would be the same if I was making things to sell.

I'm just not sure I could commit to one style or genre of craft to make all the time to the exclusion of all the others that I like. I am sure that is why both Sammy and I love blogging and running the odd workshop because it lets us do all sorts of crafts and utilise all of our skills. It is also why we always find it hard to answer that question, What is your favourite craft?

Our new answer is 'all of them'

As always we would love to know what you think about this, Are you a designer/ maker? Do you have any answers for us? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us with #livelovemake


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Friday, 5 September 2014

Makers Month: Make it: Cable Cozy

Being Makers Month here on our blog I wanted to create a tutorial for you that used home grown fabric.  I love American fabric designers like Robert Kaufman, but I have recently fallen in love with a new British company Dashwood Studio. We stock their fabric in my shop Sew Crafty and they are a great seller for us, our customers love that they are a British company using British designers.

David Sweet (Awesome name), director of Dashwood was kind enough to tell me a little about their company.

''Dashwood is just over a year old , its been exciting. We have had a lovely reception from customers . I think the domestic market was eager for a home grown fabric company producing quality contemporary collections. We only use UK designers , there are so many talented artists here , they bring a different aesthetic to the design process, its a nice alternative to all the American fabrics companies .

I worked in the States as creative director for a textile company before opening Dashwood, the time there opened my eyes,  the way they promote the designers,  embrace technology , market the products , so much more professional than here . Some of this thinking we definitely bought to Dashwood''

You may have already seen that we used Dashwood Studio fabrics in our feature for Mollie Makes and again for this project I have used their Petit Street collection. 

This is the mess of tangled cables and gadgets and thingys that usually lurk at the bottom of my bag or in a pocket if I am lucky, some live on my desk and they are nearly always tangled. Fun huh! I have been waiting to make this piece for ages and playing around with the design and when packing for my holiday I just bit the bullet and made one up. the solution to my untidy cable issues.  A Home and Away Cable Cosy.

You will need: Two 1/2 metre pieces of contrasting fabrics, 1/2 metre medium weight iron on interfacing, 10'' zip, thread, poppers, elastic, a small belt clasp, 30cm of felt, scissors, iron, sewing machine and pins.
As always you can make this project without a sewing machine, by hand sewing your pieces together.

Start by making yourself a zip accessories pouch, I used the same technique as we did in the make-up bag tutorial we did last year. Start by cutting two pieces of each of your fabrics, I cut mine 23cm x15cm. Iron on interfacing to the fabric you want to use for your lining. Then pop your zip in-between the two right-sides of your lining and outside fabric facing up towards the outside fabric. Sew the zip in place. Fold both pieces back and repeat on the other side of the zip.

Fold the second lot of pieces back and run a line of top stitching to hold the fabrics away from the zip teeth when the pouch is in use. Now undo the zip halfway. Once you have done that, take the two outer pieces and the two lining pieces and pin them together facing each other. Sew all the way around the outside and the lining leaving a small 7cm opening in the lining. Turn the whole thing inside out and hand sew up the hole in the lining before pushing the lining inside the pouch.

To make the cable tidy part of the cosy, cut two larger pieces of your fabrics 25cm x 45cm and iron on some interfacing to the lining fabric - again to give it a little more body.  Then pin two rows of elastic along the longer length, mine were about 7cm apart. Sew the elastic at between 2-3cm spacing all the way down the length, varying the spacing as you go to fit larger and smaller cables, across both rows of elastic. Then sew one side of your popper into place about a third of the way up and about 3cm in. 

Take a small length of elastic and your belt clasp and loop the clasp onto the elastic then sandwich that at the top edge between your two fabrics right sides facing.  I also added a layer of felt to the sandwich to help give a little protection to my cables if I am taking it around with me. Sew all the way around all of the layers, leaving about a 5cm gap at the end. Turn the whole piece inside out then sew all the way around the outside with a neat top stitch. attach the other end of the buckle with some more elastic and attach it on the outside of the cosy.

If like me you are using a directional fabric, think about which direction it will be facing when it is folded as well as when it is hung up, I wish I had made mine the other way as you can't really see that it is the right way up when it is hanging and it looks upside down when it is folded up on the outside.

Also don't forget to stitch the poppers onto the zipped pouch so you can attach it when it's hanging or take it off if you need to take it out with you.

There you have it, a cable tidy/ gadget accessories cosy that can hang neatly under your desk and come out with you when you need to travel with your tech.

I put all my cables in the elasticated tidy section and smaller items like memory cards, my Juice cube and plugs can go in the pouch.

Mine now lives happily on a contact hook under my desk most of the time, but neatly fits in my hand bag or camera bag for when I am out and about. I love that I can also just pop a few accessories in the zip pouch if I don't need all my cables on the go. 

Do you have a favourite British fabric company? or fabric designer? Do your cables end up like mine? Will you be making yourself a cable cosy? Or maybe making a bunch for Christmas gifts? (sorry I mentioned the C word) If you do, post a pic and #livelovemake so we can see!

Have a great weekend
Sammy xxx

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