27 May 2016

Makers Month: Makers Wishlist

Our first Spring Makers Month is almost over and we couldn't round it up without sharing some of our favourite pieces from some of our favourite makers. So here are our picks, honestly there are so many amazing creators around it is a constant battle to choose! We share our best finds weekly on our instagram @liveit.loveit.makeit so head over and turn on notifications to keep up with all our posts.
Have a lovely long weekend
Sammy xxx

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25 May 2016

Makers Month: Make it: Animal Storage Jars

Another Wednesday and another cute make from one of our Maker buddies. Today we have the lovely Hannah of Crafternoon Cabaret, who you may remember from our interview with her a couple of summers ago, to show you haw to make these adorable quick and easy Animal Jars for storing all your little supplies. Welcome Hannah!

Hello everyone.  My names’ Hannah and I run Crafternoon Cabaret Club – a craft blog and award winning event that combines craft workshops with live cabaret performances.  I am a firm believer in surrounding myself with creativity and I love filling my home with handmade items that will bring a smile to my face so I thought I’d share a really easy and fun DIY with you today for cute animal storage jars!

If you’re anything like me you always have lots of projects on the go and storing smaller materials like jewellery findings, beautiful threads and even washi tape can be a challenge.  I’ve found using jam jars is a great way to keep my materials organised – so why not make those jam jars a fun feature with a little DIY.

For this tutorial you will need: Jars with matching lids, Gold Paint (or a colour of your choice), Paintbrushes, Plastic toy animals – I’ve used little bath toys for mine but toy dinosaurs and zoo animals also look amazing (just make sure they fit nicely onto the lids of the jars) and a Glue gun.

1.  Paint your toy animals and jam jar lids gold.  You want to have a really even finish with no original colour showing through so I would use at least 2 coats, allowing your paint to dry in between.
2.  Leave to dry completely

3.  Glue your animals into place in the centre of each lid using a glue gun
4.  Stock up your jars with crafty materials, twist on the lids and check out your new golden menagerie of storage!

I’d love to see if you have a go at making this DIY – simply share with me @crafternoonclub on twitter or using #crafternoonclub and of course #livelovemake

And if you like your craft with a sprinkling of cabaret why not check out our next event at The Book Club, Shoreditch on Saturday June 11th 2 –4pm.  As it’s the year of Punk we’re celebrating with a customising workshop – bring your jeans, jackets and bags and customise with embellishments, lino printing, and fabric paint.

Check out www.crafternooncabaretclub.com for more details.

Thanks for stopping by Hannah.

I don't know about you but we are off to raid our nieces toy box for bits and bobs to stick on the lids of all our old jam jars!

Sammy and H xxx

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23 May 2016

Makers Month: Branding Q&A with HAM

Way back at the beginning of our Makers Month we had a brand Q&A with Kim from Finest Imaginery and now we thought we should share another great perspective on branding with Jo from HAM.  So let's hear what insights she can give us to making your brand work for you.

Hello Jo, Could you tell our readers a little about yourself and your business?
Hi! I am the illustrator behind HAM and spend my time capturing moments from the contented life of Rabbit on a range of ceramics, wall art and paper goods. We sell direct online at hammade.com and through our family of stockists around the world.

Where/when did you decide that you wanted your own business?
I started working on HAM in 2010 after making the tough decision to leave the job I loved at the brand consultancy Wolff Olins. A lot of factors got me to this point: I’d always been hungry to start a business having grown up surrounded by people doing their own thing - both my parents and brother run companies. I’d also studied fine art at university and although I was working at a creative agency, I was a strategist and longed to be physically designing and making. The final push was getting ill in my mid 20s, which came a bit out the blue, and stopped me in my tracks for a year. I had to take some time off and whilst I was away I started filling up my sketchbook again and the HAM idea was born. Returning to work was definitely the best thing for me but my outlook on life had changed and I was now very much focused on living for the moment, so I took the plunge, left work and launched HAM in 2011.

Who do you design for?
HAM has quite a broad reach. I always hope to create things that all ages can enjoy. And I try and keep the themes and humour universal so language or culture isn’t a barrier.

Do you think you need a brand identity?
Absolutely! Brand is often mistaken as just a logo or the look of a business but it can do so much more. Think of your brand as an idea, something that defines what makes you special, then use it as a guiding principle or a blueprint for all that you do. Staying true to what you stand for will help keep your offer authentic and consistent and it’s a really powerful tool for helping make decisions about opportunities that come your way.

Does using social media help to build your customers?
Social media has revolutionized the way we do business, cutting out the middleman and enabling us to have a
direct conversation with a ton of potential customers all over the world. It’s a big part of our marketing strategy and best of all it’s free! It is evolving so quickly it’s tricky to keep up. We have a presence on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram (my fave) and I’m keen to get to grips with the next wave of apps… Snapchat is next on my list!

Top tips to building your brand.
- Really think about what you stand for as a designer, the idea driving your work and how that makes you different.
- Use brand as brief for all areas of your business: from the development of collections and deciding which events to show at, to planning collaborations and figuring out your tone of voice.
- Get family and friends involved. There are always ups and downs so share concerns with those around you and gauge feedback wherever possible.
- With time and experience your brand will naturally evolve so don’t be worried if the offer or brand idea changes and needs a refresh.
- Invest time in thinking about your customer experience. Use your brand to help make packaging, web content, newsletters and social media really unique.
- Keep striving to think how can I make this better? And don’t forget to celebrate the good times!

Time to share the love, name some of your favourite designers.
There is a gang of us that all started around the same time – we see each other regularly at trade shows and we’ve become pals, something that’s important when you work in such an insular way. It’s been amazing to watch their collections flourish and their following grow. Aside from loving and respecting what they do they are all ace people.  Highly recommend checking out…

Thanks so much Jo for having a chat with us about her brand and that super cute rabbit!  Some great new people to stalk (We mean check out) on social media too!

Hope you have found it useful and it may have given you some inspiration into making your brand work for you more!

H & Sammy, xxx

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20 May 2016

Makers Month: Lets Meet: Nylon Sky

It's a bumper crop for you this month as we have another Let's Meet for #makersmonth.  This time we had a chat with Jennifer from Nylon Sky.  We have admired her work for a while and so are super excited to bring her work to your attention - if you haven't seen it before now of course!

What was the first thing you remember making?
I was constantly making stuff as a child, I have a strong memory of my sister and I dressed up in costumes we had made from cardboard boxes and shredded newspaper, haha, we we were quite resourceful with our materials!

How did you find your creative side?
Creativity was always with me, for as long as I can remember. Art and English literature were my favourite subjects at school. Later I went on to study Textile Design at Uni and always knew I would work in the creative industries, whether it be with my own brand or otherwise.

What has been your favourite ever make? Whether that be for your business or pleasure – tell us about it.
In the autumn I launched series of foil printed notebooks, which was a small but significant step for my brand, having been focused on producing jewellery for the last 5 years.  Now I’m working on a range of interior products which will launch in September, so I’m really looking forward to expanding further in a new direction.
What are your favourite ways to stay inspired?
Travelling is a huge inspiration to me! Exploring the sights and sounds of a new, unfamiliar place – the further away from the norm the better.  I love to visit new art exhibitions also. I’m living in Barcelona at the moment and I’ve found that being in the sun and swimming outside helps me to focus, giving me time to think and feed ideas.

Who are your favourite Designer/Makers right now?
I can’t get enough of Danish design brand HAY, I’m slowly filling up my apartment with there pieces, one by one. Plus, I’ve recently discovered the beautiful ceramics form Australian designers Twocan Studio, colourful drippy loveliness!

What crafty item is top of your wishlist?
I’m not sure what’s on my future wish list, but recently I’m doing a lot of collage with coloured papers and paint, it’s refreshing to step away from the computer and do something much more organic.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?
Go on random adventures, eat delicious homemade food, drink a nice, cold gin tonic and go to the beach.! Not necessarily in that order.

Tell us a bit about what you have coming up?  any little projects you want to tell us about.
At the moment I’m taking a break from jewellery design and focused on designing a range of interior products, to include cushions and tableware. Can’t wait to reveal more!

Thanks so much to Jennifer for taking time out to chat to us, especially with the design of new products looming!  It's great to hear she is turning her hand to interior products, a new interiors obsession is born!

H & Sammy, xxx

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18 May 2016

Makers Month: Make it: Shibori tie dyed curtains

Dyeing fabric is a bit of a new obsession for me and one which if I’m not careful may consume my entire house! I had dyed fabric in school and university but recently had another go with as it was the focus of one of my We Make Collective boxes. If you want to know all about this and what I did with my kit you can read about it here.
So when Sammy and H got in touch to see if I’d like to share a DIY on the blog I thought my dyed curtains would be perfect to share as it’s super easy!

What you’ll need: White cotton curtains - or any cotton fabric, Dye - I used indigo dye from the kit but normal fabric dye will work too, Rubber bands/string, Rubber gloves.
Step 1 - Dampen your fabric to encourage the fabric to absorb the dye more readily

Step 2 - Mix up your dye as instructed on the packet. I used indigo dye which can be a little trickier to get ready but once you’ve mixed all the ingredients it should have a film on top like this...

Step 3 - Tie up your fabric with your rubber bands or string. You can follow traditional patterns such as pleating or marbling or just make it up as you go along! The basic rule is that wherever you tie on a rubber band it should prevent the dye from reaching the fabric and create a pattern. I chose to pleat my curtains so began by folding them both with the same sized pleat by laying them next to each other as I folded.
This was by no means an exact science but again all adds to the charm of the overall effect. Once I had pleated both curtains I attached my rubber bands along the fabric. Mine are blue as I had used them previously.

I wanted to try and get them fairly evenly spaced on both curtains to create a similar effect when dyed.
The most important thing is to make sure that you tie the rubber bands or string on tightly as if you leave any room for the dye to get in you wont see any pattern when you take them off.
Step 4 - Dye your fabric! You want to immerse the fabric in your dye carefully to avoid spillages and wearing gloves can help to prevent funny coloured fingers! It will probably float on the top so make sure you keep turning it every now and then to achieve an even dye. Again follow your dye instructions for this. If using indigo dye you only need to leave your fabric in the dye for a few minutes and then take it out where it will slowly turn from green to blue as it oxidises.
Step 5 - Hang to dry & then display!

I have also used this technique as part of my year long creative project #daphnerosainbloom where I am using a different flower in bloom each month to inspire me to create something and blogging about it here. April's tulips definitely benefited from my new obsession!

I hope you enjoyed the DIY and have lots of fun exploring the world of dyeing! I’d love to see any of your efforts so do be sure to tag me on Instagram if you share. You can find me at @daphnerosaflowers.

Kate, x

Thanks so much to Kate for this fabulous tutorial, don't forget to #livelovemake on Instagram or twitter if you give this a go and tag @daphneroasaflowers too of course!

Now, what can we use for all the Shibori dying we are going to be doing! ha ha
H & Sammy, xxx

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16 May 2016

Makers Month: Whats on all our desks

We thought as this month is all about the makers it would only be right to get a bunch of our fave creatives to share their desks rather than ours for a change and who doesn't like a nosey at other peoples workstations!! Here are a bunch (and we mean bunch) of amazing desks from some amazing makers, enjoy.
Claire from Claireabellemakes
I use a massive pegboard to store all my most used supplies and to display motivational prints and pretty things.  A new addition to the space is the washi storage - I used a wooden dowel from the hardware store (£1.50) attached to some pegboard hooks. The card rack (from HEMA) stores some of my stock.

Sam from Fantastic Crafty Fox
On my desk I keep my growing collection of pens, pencils and washi tape! And of course my sewing machine. I have a pin board that hangs above my desk that is my visual inspiration board filled with cut outs from magazines with photo ideas and colour and texture ideas. I keep inspirational quotes and have a selection of business cards I have collected from craft fairs and handmade buyers. I like to keep it bright and happy to keep me motivated.

Hackney Potter
Here I am about to throw some marbled mugs, you can't really tell but the clay on the wheel is a mix of white yellow and green! On the shelf above from R-L are my Hato Press and Moleskin notebooks that go everywhere with me. A coffee in my favourite yellow and white marbled mug from my current range, some dyed clay, a pot with some tools, and a couple of my planters at the side too. Succulents are the perfect studio plant as they tend to be very hardy and don't need much attention !!

Fran from Fall for DIY
I was lucky enough to move into my studio at the beginning of this year and it makes the world of difference having a desk that is solely to work at. Instead of constantly moving things around to take photos I can fill my desk with the prettiest things! I particularly love my print from The Lovely Drawer and my woven wall hanging I made for We Make Collective. And of course you need lots of plants to create a beautiful green space too!

Anna from Custom Made
It’s been a busy month here at CM HQ. As well as out usual orders etc I have been working on samples for a High Summer collection. I found a lovely new mint green acrylic and as soon as I saw it knew I had to order some for the range. I have been playing with colours to sit with it in illustrator so it’s always fun getting all the cut pieces laid out and working on getting new jewellery together. Watch this space!

So what do you think? Its great to see behind the scenes of some of our favs and see what is currently sitting on their desks.  Love a bit of a nosey and so it definitely appeals to this side.

Who's desk would you love to take a look at?  Maybe we can get them the next time.
H & Sammy, xxx

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