Live it: What's in H's Handbag

A while ago Sammy did a post about what was in her handbag and so I thought it was about time that I got my act in gear and did one aswell.  You can see Sammy's post here.  There are so many of these types of post about and yet they are so intriguing that I can never get enough!

As a blogging duo it is nice sometimes to do something which shows how we are similar and how we are so different.  Always nice to show our different sides and also you guys can get to be a little bit nosey! - Let's face it, we are all a bit nosey.

As I am sure you guys know by now I am a bit of an organisation freak and I like to have a few bits and pieces for most eventualities!  What can I say, the Be Prepared mantra has stuck with my from my Brownie days!  You will definitely get a sense of this below!

1.  An Umbrella - a necessity for the UK and so it always comes in handy for those changes in the weather on my walk to work.
2.  My work pass - it's just annoying when I forget it as you can't get anywhere without it!
3.  My Purse - I brought this at a Vintage Fair at the venue I used to work at.  It turns out that my gran had the same purse in pink!
4.  A little bag of bits and pieces - just in case.  Inside there is an eyeshadow pencil, bank gadget, mini mirror, hairband, hairclip, nail file and keyring (for some reason!)
5.  A packet of tissues - I nearly always get caught out with getting a cold, so it's always worth having some tissues in my bag.
6.  A couple of pens - I always end up needing a pen and one runs out on me and so I always carry 2! I told you I liked to be prepared.
7.  Ray Ban looking sunglasses - these are definitely not real!  I brought them in Greece a few years ago and have been in my bag ever since.  You never know when the sun is going to shine and plus I find it really difficult to drive when sunny without them.
8.  Cath Kidston measuring tape - I always need this when shopping and it's really useful for making sure you buy something that fits a gap!  I brought this when I worked at Kings Cross and I used to go out at lunchtime and see what the shops in Kings Cross St Pancras had to offer.  It reminds me of Christmas time in London with the Lego tree in Kings Cross station.
9.  My Ipod.  I do have my phone - which I just realised I forgot to put on here (but most of the time it goes in my pocket).  But I like to keep my music separate as if you run out of battery on a long journey with your phone, you can still listen to music.  A genius idea I think, but I am sure most people just think I am far too organised!

I feel I have alot of things in my handbag, just in case.  But I would rather have it than be without!  GEEK

There are other things that get put in and out on a daily basis, like notebooks and a Diary for work, I cannot live without my diary at work!  But I don't carry them around with me everyday as I like to keep my bag lightweight and so things get put in as required on a daily basis.

I also brought myself a cheeky new handbag last week - I was definitely looking for a shoulder bag and somehow I ended up with a satchel!!!!  and it's blue which may well explain why I ended up with something I wasn't actually intending to buy!  See my post here for why the colour may have convinced me.  It was a bargain from TKMaxx so I didn't feel too bad!!!!

What do you guys think?  I have a feeling I might need to use this on days that I have less in my bag.  Maybe it could be my weekend bag?

What are your essentials in your handbag?  Do you have a bag full of stuff or do you keep it simple?  Let us know in the comments below - we like to be nosey about you guys too.

Love it
H

Make it: Pumpkin Pincushion

Today we have a spooky sewing treat for you to try your hand at, this super cute Pumpkin Pincushion. The best thing about this tutorial is that you can use it to make normal pincushions with pretty cotton fabrics all year round as well as these Halloween style ones, just pick a fabric of your choice. So let's get on and show you how we made this little guy.

How to Get the Best Service and be an Amazing Customer this Christmas

In order to get the best customer service in any situation, you have to be the best customer.  Having worked in retail for over fifteen years, I'm pretty sure I have seen every kind of customer, from the over-familiar to the down right loopy.  My experience has made me appreciate the experience of being a customer and I always try my best to be a good customer when I'm shopping whether on-line or in stores.  By being a good customer I find that I often receive good to excellent customer service, of course there are times when even a stellar attitude will not win the day and the service you receive will be poor.  However if you follow these 10 simple steps this holiday season I guarantee that you will have the best shopping experience. 

Link for the week: Saatchi Gallery

Planos-pipas n17
photograph courtesy of www.saatchigallery.com

Last week I sent a friend over to the Saatchi Gallery on her week off to check out a new exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery in London called Paper and so I thought I should extend the invitation for you to go visit too, before it closes on Sunday 3rd November.


The exhibition celebrates the use of paper in contemporary art and the paper sculpture above is by Marcelo Jácome and was what first made me want to go see the show.

You can have a look at a great review of it here.

If you do go, please let me know what it's like as with Half Term next week at work, I don't think I am going to have the time to go see it.

Live it
H


Love it: Gorgeous Garlands


Craft Business Magazine asked me a little while ago, in an interview, what I thought was going to be a stand out decoration trend for Christmas 2013, my answer... Garlands! 
I am friggin' in love with garlands right now, from tassels to pompoms, there is a style to suit everyone! For Favourite Friday I have rounded up my top DIY versions from around the web for you to have a go at this weekend, Enjoy.
I think my top one to have a go at this Christmas is going to be a doily garland, they look so dainty. What crafts are you looking forward to doing for Christmas? What is your favourite decorating trend this year?

Hope you all have a lovely weekend
Sammy xxx

5 Things I hate about ... Spa Hotels

Continuing on with my series, it's time for '5 Things I hate about' and this time it's all about Spa Hotels!

I know lots of people love them and I really don't mean to make anyone else hate them, it's just how I feel about them.  I'm just not a spa person.  I would much rather sit down in front of a movie with a cuppa, rather than with a lot of other people trying to relax.

So, this is how I feel about them:

1.  Forced relaxation - nothing makes me relax less than someone telling me to relax.  It's just that thing of relaxing is all about having some time and space to yourself, how are you meant to get that in a big space with lots of other people around trying to relax too.

2.  Massages - I don't want someone pummelling me or trying to soothe me.  Just get off, get off now! I just have never been into massages, maybe it's because I have bad back anyway and I just think they will make it worse or maybe it's because when I have had one I have found it so uncomfortable that there is just no relaxation there for me.

3.  Crazy 'Healthy' purging plans - who eats like that on a normal basis.  Eat well most of the time and then there is no need for the cabbage soup and raw food for one day a month!  Crazy diets are never good and after a nice calming day all you want is a brew and a cake surely!?  So why feel that you should deny yourself that.

4.  The expense - why is my relaxing time so expensive!  Surely to be relaxing it should not cost my month's wages.  Everything is expensive at Spa's, the treatments, the food and the drinks, it just makes me anxious rather than relaxed.

5.  Special oils or incense sticks - it all just makes me sneeze!  Give me 2 minutes with all that stuff and my nose will explode.  I can walk through a perfume department and I start sneezing and so being around this stuff all the time is never going to help!

So that's it, as I said these are all just my own views on Spa's, I am sure there are plenty of things to love about them.  Do you love or hate them?  Let me know in the comments below.

Time for a cuppa methinks
H

Top tips for Buying Fabric

My love of fabrics goes back to childhood, my Mum was a costumier in the West end at the beginning of her career and always made her own and my clothes when I was a little girl.  She used to take me with her to go fabric shopping and I remember spending many a happy hour in the shop that we now own together.  Print, colour and texture have been a part of my life for as long as I can recall, choosing fabrics to sell at Sew Crafty is one of the things I love most about my job.
We get questions on a daily basis about how to choose the right fabrics for a pattern and where to buy unusual fabrics from, these are my top tips for buying and choosing fabrics. 

1. Ask advice : Usually (although not always) the sales assistants who work in fabric shops and haberdashery departments have a great wealth of knowledge that you can use to help you choose the fabric that is right for you.  Don't be afraid to ask for help, more often than not they will enjoy guiding you through and helping you choose a fabric for your project. 

2. Quality costs : In general cheap fabrics will produce cheap results. If you are going to take the time to make something, you want it to last. My advice is to buy the best quality you can so that the result will be a good one. If you are worried about using an expensive fabric on a project you are unsure about, try having a trial run.

3. Trial run : Having a trial run at a new project or pattern is a great way to get all the mistakes out of the way and learn where extra care needs to be taken.  In dressmaking this is called a toile.  If I am making up a new dress pattern that I have never done before I will make it up in a cheap fabric to see how it works.  If I don't like it or need to make a smaller/bigger size I can make adjustments before committing to making it in a more pricey fabric. 

4. Check your pattern : If you are making a garment from a pattern, there will be a section on the back which gives you an indication of the kinds of fabric that the pattern was designed for, use this as a guide.  This is particularly important when using Stretch fabrics/patterns.  The rule usually works that you can make a non-stretch pattern in stretch fabric, but it is much harder to make a stretch pattern in non stretch fabric (not impossible but a lot of adjustments would have to be made) So it is important to read the fabric recommendations carefully before buying your pattern as well as your fabric. 

5. Colour : Colour is something to be very aware of when buying fabric online. Colours can appear differently when photographed and different again when shown on a computer screen.  If you are unsure of the colour you are wanting to buy, especially when you are trying to match a colour, ask them to send you a sample before you commit to a full length, this may not be free, but better than spending lots of money only to be disappointed.  If it is good and you do want to go ahead, some places will credit the amount you paid for samples from your purchase.

6. Samples : Most places will give samples, as I said they may not be free though.  If they are free, don't be cheeky and ask for too many.

7. Width : Checking the width of the fabric is important and with buying cotton or quilting fabrics online, you often will buy it by the fat quarter rather than by the metre so check the measurements of what you are buying carefully before you hit that checkout button.  If you are buying from a shop it will be easier to see what you are getting, but don't be afraid to ask to see an amount before they cut to be sure it is enough to complete your project.

8. Pattern repeat and placing : Depending on the size of the print on your chosen fabric you may need to consider the distance between the repeat.  This is particularly important with large floral prints and checks (like Tartan) when you are making a dress or trousers.  You want the side and back seams to match up so you will need to take this into consideration when working out your amounts.

9. Nap : In a similar way to your pattern repeat, if you fabric has a pile, like velvet or corduroy, they have what is called a Nap. If you stroke the fabric in one direction it will feel smooth and in the other it will feel rougher. You will want to buy enough fabric so that all of your pieces can face the same direction.  Normally with these fabrics you want the smooth direction going up the garment.  It makes the colour look richer when you are wearing it.

10. Washing instructions : If you are lucky, the price label on the fabric will also have advice for washing.  If it doesn't ask the assistant if they have any advice, as you don't want to buy dry clean only fabric for an everyday skirt.  Some fabrics will need washing before you make them up as they may shrink on the first wash. I always wash all my fabrics, whether they need shrinking or not as they can often be dusty from being in shops and warehouses on their travels.  Also it can make some fabrics easier to work with once washed.  I wash them at the temperature I think I will be washing them at when they are made up, so 30 degrees for accessories and furnishings and 40 degrees for clothes. 

Before I go, I thought I would tell you some of mine and H's favourite places to go fabric shopping. You can take a look and try out some of the tips from this post. 


If you have any other questions about shopping for fabric, leave us a comment and we will try and answer your query.  Do you have any tips of your own? Where are you favourite places to shop for fabric? Let us know, we want to visit!
Sammy xxx

Dream a Little Bigger Darling

Don't let small minds convince you that your dreams are too big.
-Unknown

I have always been really lucky that my parents, friends and my husband have been very supportive of my (occasionally crazy) dreams.  I had all the usual childhood aspirations, I wanted to be lots of things, from an Actress to a Zoo-keeper, funnily enough (my Mum tells me) the game I enjoyed most as a child was playing shop.  My Dad has always been the driving force behind me, always encouraging me to forge my own path in life and especially in business. 

These days in general though we seem to be very good at being negative, we seem to be programmed to jump to the worst case scenario and imagine all the cons before examining the pros.  It is easy to be disheartened when people are less than positive about your ideas and dreams for your future. When people are always shooting down your ideas and finding fault with dreams it is hard to see a way through to what you want to achieve. The opposite is also true, surrounding yourself with 'Yes' people can also be problematic.  Not every idea you have is going to be gold and sometimes you need a measured approach to test the waters before diving right in.

I think the answer is to have big dreams and big plans to back them up. We need to remember that the best type of success, no matter how it seems, is not gained overnight. The most successful people and ideas have been months, often years in the making.  Planning out how your dream can come true and all the steps that will get you there are as important as each other.  Setting achievable goals and making sure you have balanced support behind you is the best way to get where you want to go. 

I try to think of it like this... I would never just wake up one morning, go to the airport and head out on a round the world trip.  I would spend time doing research about where to go and how long to spend in each place, I would take time to save the money needed to take the journey.  Achieving a dream needs the same kind of attention as planning the trip of a lifetime.  Sure, you don't have to plan every detail of your itinerary before you start, but you need to have a plan, an idea of where you are headed and how you're going to get there. 

The biggest thing to remember about your dreams is that they are just that, YOUR dreams. 
Creating my own line of handbags, designing a fabric collection, being featured in Vogue, having a family of my own, designing and building my own home, having an epic fly-drive holiday across America, visiting Japan... the list goes on.  I have many, many dreams that may or may not ever become a reality, but that will never convince me that my dreams are too big. 

Sammy xxx

This is the last in my quotes series for now, but keep an eye out, they will be returning once a month.  In the mean time check out the others here:

Don' forget you can follow us in all these places so you never miss a thing <3

Link for the week: TOFT

Just over a week ago, we popped along to the Knitting and Stitching show at Alexandra Palace.

When we were there we visited TOFT UK's stand which is a great brand that sells alpaca wool to make all manner of things, our favourites were the new animal crochet patterns they have on offer.


You can crochet all manner of animals, from Zebra's and Monkeys, to Bat's and Bears.


They are sooooo cute and the wool is so soft, they would make great presents, whether as a kit or all made up for someone.

Love it
H

Low Maintenance Halloween Outfits



Some years I go all out for Halloween and some years, like this year, I just want to be a bit more low maintenance. There are some great options from our favourite fashion brands around at the moment to make it look like you have made an effort, without going the whole hog. 

Book Review: Makery

You may have well caught The Makery on Dragon's Den a while ago and seen that amongst their shop and kits, they have a book out called 'Makery - Over 30 projects for the home, to wear and to give' by Kate Smith (the founder of The Makery).

So, we thought it would be a good idea to do a little review for you.

The book doesn't have the same branding as the venue, which is a little confusing (this also came up in Dragon's Den), so that is a shame, but it still looks great.

The front cover obviously suits me as it's plenty of blue items, just up my street.

A great contents page is always a good winner with me as it's nice to flick through the book, but it's also good to be able to look up a specific project you have seen.  The pictures throughout the book are clear and very pretty, with a mix of general shots and pictures of the projects you will be doing.

I like the fact that there is no 'Craft tool' or 'get you started' pages in this book, as sooo many books do that to fill up the pages I feel.  I like that they are targeting the book towards people who already craft and so they don't need that kind of thing taking up pages.

Some of the projects I have seen before in other books, but that is inevitable I guess these days, but there are some great new projects to do aswell.  The Cuckoo Clock and Toy truck pincushion are particular favourites, along with some shrink plastic jewellery and the Stag Head.  I think I will definitely have to give the Cuckoo clock a go when I get my own place - got a while I would think!

When you find a project you like, there are plenty of steps and diagrams (along with pictures of all the tools you will need) to follow.  The steps are easy to read and give you great advice along the way, which is always nice.

The paper weight of the pages in the book are lovely and it has that really nice matt texture to it, which makes it lovely to flick through and feel very much like a craft book.  The book is Paperback though and I must admit I prefer a hardback craft book, but again that is just preference.

Another of the great things about this book is that all the pull out patterns (at the back) are full sized.  So no having to scale up on a photocopier for this book.  Let's face it no one has a photocopier at home and so how are people meant to scale patterns up!  It is definitely a plus for the book.

All in all, the book is easy to read and has some great projects and so I would give it a definite thumbs up.  Hopefully we can have a go at the projects soon and see what we can create!

Have you read this book?  Or do you have another book we should check out?  Lets us know in the comments below.

Off to dream of a Cuckoo clock!

H

Michelle Makes: Halloween Toffee Apples

Michelle from Spotted Rose is back today with a fun Autumnal treat for you all to try.

I am a big fan of Autumn, especially Halloween.  It’s full of lovely baking, running through the autumn leaves, hot chocolate and toffee apples.  They are a real childhood memory for me so I just HAD to try these for myself. 

I was a little nervous because it means heating sugar to the right temperature, but these were really 
fun to make!  You don’t need a sugar thermometer either, there is a little test you can do, which i’ll explain.  There are quite a few different recipes for these so I kind of adapted them all and made up my own. 

Here’s what you will need:

Small apples (I don’t like biting into big ones, but use what you prefer)
Lolly sticks / paper straws
2 cups caster sugar
½ cup water

½ teaspoon white wine vinegar 

2 tbsp golden syrup

Get the sticks ready first – I stamped my families names on some of the lolly sticks as a special little touch, you could add names or Halloween references !

Stick them into the bottom of the washed and dried apples.


I really wanted to try using paper straws in place of the sticks but they are quite flimsy, BUT by just

using the end of a circular ended teaspoon and sticking this in the bottom of an apple, it made a circular hole and they then fitted in perfectly.

Next to make the toffee, add the sugar and water to a pan and bring to the boil.

Then stir in the vinegar and syrup. Set a sugar thermometer in the pan and boil to 140C or the 'hard crack' stage as they call it.  If you don’t have a thermometer you can test the toffee by dropping a little into a bowl of cold water.  It should harden instantly and when removed be brittle and easy to break. If you can still squish the toffee, it’s not quite ready !
So, this is the fun bit – I decided to make my toffee apples a bit more ‘spooky’ and added some green food colouring and edible green glitter.

Slimy and gross hey! 

Then, very quickly dip the apples in the toffee, swirl them around and drip off any excess.  I used some flower oasis to pop these in and keep them upright to dry.

Here they are…

I then added red colouring to the next ones ...


... and decided to add a little sugar witch and some green glitter !


But the below are my all time favourite ones – I have been dying to try the new edible gold spray from Dr Oktker and this was the perfect opportunity!! 

Gold toffee apples – doesn’t get much better than that hey!

Why not package them up in cellophane and ribbon and give them away as pressies!
If they aren't devoured first like mine were.

Thanks so much for reading & happy Autumn!
Michelle, x 

Envy, Such a Waste of Time

When Steve Jobs was quoted as saying this he was intending it to be taken as a caution to others to not be tempted to just follow the crowd, to be your own person and believe in your true self. This is the rest of the quote...
'Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary' - Steve Jobs

Sound advice there from Mr Jobs. This quote helps to remind me that my life is pretty special. 

Envy or jealously is hard to fight sometimes, especially in this age of Facebook, Blogs, Instagram and Twitter, where we share so much of our lives online for the world to see (that makes me sound old).  It used to be the case that we would occasionally get a glimpse into the celebs high-life in a magazine or on TV, these days just search through the twitter feeds of your favourite movie stars and get a real time photo of the premiere's they are attending.  It is not only movie heros and pop princesses that we envy these days either, our friends and people we admire within our own industries are sharing their achievements online all the time too. Us bloggers are particularly prone to sharing all the fabulous things we get up to (It is what we do), even being a blogger myself it is hard not to fall into the trap of envying those opportunities 'other' people get to experience. 

I often read other peoples blogs, or scroll through Instagram thinking 'How cool would that be, I wish I could do/ have/ go to/ create/ be a part of that' I think that is only natural, What is not natural however is feeling that because I am not doing/ having/ going to/ creating/ being a part of whatever it is, that my life isn't good enough. There is a difference between striving to achieve better for yourself and trying to be something that your not, sometimes it is hard to know the difference. We all have to remind ourselves that what people choose to share online, is just that, what they choose to share. Everyone has bad hair days, bad outfit days, messy home days (weeks/months) times when their kids are screaming the house down and when we just go and buy a cake and eat the whole thing....just me, OK... moving on - we just rarely want to share them with the world.  So what you see online is the best bits, the cinema edit, as opposed to the directors cut if you like. Those unflattering moments left to languish on the cutting room floor.  

It is hard to remember that everyone is as real as you are, being jealous of others achievements and opportunities is a waste of our time and as Mr Jobs put it our 'time is limited'. We need to learn to treasure our own lives. We can all still strive to be the best version of ourselves, but that needs to be the very best of who we are, not anyone else. 

Sammy xxx


Read Pt. 1 of my quotes series here : Jack of all Trades, Master of None


Link for the week: Free Machine Embroidery

Cupcake tea cosy by Poppy Treffry
I have been wanting to try Free Machine Embroidery for a while and I have seen this course at The Makery in Bath and so I thought I would share it with you.


I think it might be a great excuse to go to Bath and check out the area.  I last went when I was very little and so I think a visit now I am older would be great to see the local bath's and of course a cream tea!

Live it
H

Friday Favourite: Iconic IKEA



Last week Steve and I both had a Friday off work, this is rare - so we celebrated with a trip to Milton Keynes, more directly IKEA!  Oh the life of us married folk, so glamorous.  We were headed there in particular as I had saved enough money to buy all the components of my new desk (sadly this is super exciting to me).  There is so much Ikea goodness floating around the interwebs at the moment and I couldn't resist some of the more popular and iconic IKEA pieces for our home.
This is what we bought.

Can you see a theme ?? I chose the ALEX drawer units and the LENNMON table tops for my desk.  I bought four of the drawer units and two tops in different sizes to replace the two mis-matched desks in my craft room. As soon as my room is back to normal I will take some new photos and share it with you guys.
We had a lovely day, we put Music on in the car as we drove to Milton Keynes and sang along at the top of our voices all the way there and back, I love hearing my Steve sing, he used to be in a band before we knew each other, he has a lovely voice. 

Hope you all have a lovely weekend, I am spending mine sorting out all the bits into my new desk, what are you guys up to?
Sammy xxx


5 Things I love about ... Autumn

This month's 'Things I love about' is all about Autumn, just because it's one of my favourite times of year and it seems like it's a favourite for a-lot of people!  If my Instagram feed is anything to go by anyway.

So, I think I should get started and tell you what I love so much about it.

1.  Wearing scarves - I love scarves, I love being able to wrap up with one and in autumn we can wear thinner coats and big thick scarves or thicker coats with thinner scarves.  Which just means more choice, lovely.  That's always the excuse when I keep buying more scarves too, you need one for every occasion!

2.  The leaves turning brown - I love it when the leaves fall and they turn brown.  You also have to enjoy rustling your feet through them all in a big pile.  Who didn't love jumping in a big pile of leaves as a child and as I have grown up, I still love doing it.

3.  Hot drinks - I don't really drink hot drinks apart from in the autumn and winter.  I do love a good cuppa or hot chocolate - with a biscuit of course.  There is something really nice about settling down with blogging and a brew!  Keeps the mind working.

4.  Jumpers - who doesn't love snuggling in a jumper on the sofa.  Get the jeans on, jumper on and your good to go.  Again, a great excuse for buying more jumpers!  As if I need anymore excuses.

5.  Baking - I always feel like baking more in the colder months.  The heat of the oven keeps you warm too.  Plus it's just lovely trying new recipes and baking something nice for a friend or for work.

There are loads more that I could have done, but what's your favourite thing about Autumn?  Let me know in the comments below?

Love it
H

Who's Who: Sketch.inc

It's that time again for our monthly Who's Who.  This month comes courtesy of a great little company from Essex called Sketch.inc, which stems from a lifetime of carrying around a sketchbook and being inspired by everything around you.  Sounds like a great idea to us!

Who are you?
I’m Becky Kemp and Sketch.inc is simply the creative outlet for the contents of my Sketchbooks. Sketch.inc HQ is my home studio in Colchester.



What do you do?
Sketch.inc offers a range of decorative homeware and unique jewelry born from the pages of my beloved sketchbooks. Every product starts with a sketch and grows from there, whether it’s a brooch or plate. Ultimately I enjoy the act of play and discovery, influenced by a combination of Danish design and Japanese illustration.

How did you start?
I had been selling a small number of paintings and prints online for a while with little success. When I came across a blank Russian Doll in a craft shop I recognised it's potential as a canvas for my sketchbook character designs. Remembering the Russian Dolls I once graffitied with a marker pen as a child, they made perfect sense to me. Between the Dolls and brooch designs (originally intended for a friends Wedding Party) my sales were beginning to interfere with the day job. Around this time my father also passed away leading me to reassess my life and what I wanted to do with it, so I decided to dive head first and moved back to England to be closer to family and realise my creative dream.

 
What's Next?
I have a number of projects in the pipeline that hopefully will ease my day-to-day workload. Painting and all things handmade are at my core, but to expand my business I need to look at my manufacturing techniques to extend my wholesale range to retailers. This progression is proving to be far more difficult than I had imagined, trying to balance the essence of what is predominantly a handmade business and the needs of retailers is a tricky job.

What advice would you give yourself if you could go back to the beginning?
I don’t believe in regrets but I do wish I had started this adventure earlier. I had been thinking of selling my work online for years but life seemed to get in the way and starting out was very daunting, so the dream was forever being put on hold.  I would tell the younger me to go with your gut feeling and do what you love, there’s no time like the present!

You can find out more about Sketch.inc or shop for Becky's work at the below places.

Instagram: @sketchinc
Twitter : @sketchinc

Sammy bought herself one of Becky's brooches a few months back, that you will have seen in one of her friday favourties posts.  We are defiantly fans!

Live it.  Love it.  Make it
H & Sammy

Never Making Mistakes is a Mistake

I have never been a fan of the word regret, I was always a person who took chances and lived with the consequences. I truly believe that we are who we are because of the experiences that we live through. As I get older this 'no fear' attitude is harder to uphold with the same blind stubbornness of my teens and 20's.
With more experience of life and business comes more knowledge and more reasons to be worried about what happens when things don't work out as planned. This is also the case as we take on more responsibility as adults, owning or renting a home for the first time makes us realise that the buck stops with us, If we don't pay the gas bill, we don't get to have hot showers. We learn from our mistakes.

I spend a lot of time at our shop helping out GCSE and A level students with their textiles projects and it makes me yearn for the days when I used to experiment with colours, textures and technique. When I used to try something just to see what the result would be. When I was at college we had the chance to fill endless sketch books with ideas and samples.  I can't remember the last time I filled a sketch book just because.

With running your own business it is even harder to experiment, the 'money' factor often stops an idea in it's tracks, committing a chunk of money to something you have no idea is going to work is a big gamble. Again responsibility ways heavy. At 21 I would have given it a try and if it went wrong figured out another way to pay the gas bill, 31 Year old me puts all my energy into making the idea work and am left with little to no energy and enthusiasm to figure out another way if it doesn't.

As an adult it can be hard to remember that nothing is impossible, I can't pinpoint the moment that changes for you, because it is different for all of us, but in order to create something special that other people want or want to be a part of takes one thing... A Risk.  The risk that it may not work out, the risk that the people you want to sell to may just not be interested in what you have to offer. The flip side of taking that risk is that something even more wonderful than you imagined might happen. It is not until you have taken that chance that you will know, in order to know if it is a mistake, you have to make it.

The reason I wanted to talk about this today is that I am currently in the middle of a big decision making process with the rest of my family for the future of our business Sew Crafty. Going back to what I was talking about in this post, trying to pull more of the things we can offer in to one, more diverse business. It is a BIG risk, but I am determined to bring a little more of my 21 year old self to the table and take the risk that could make our business everything we believe it can be.

Do it. Take the plunge. Take a risk
Sammy xxx

Read Pt. 1 of my quotes series here : Jack of all Trades, Master of None

Link for the week: Brick Lane

I took some of the girls from work for a visit to Brick Lane yesterday as they had never been - so what better excuse to have a day out in London.

These were just some of the pictures I Instagrammed on the day.  You can follow me on Instagram here.

Given that I became an unofficial tour guide on the day, I thought it would be good to give you guys a few links of places to go in East London to check out the vibe for yourself.   East London has its own very eclectic and relaxed feeling to it.  It was nice to go back as I hadn't been for a while.  It was really nice to show some people around who had never been too.

We wandered through Spitalfields market where it was general market day, but that still meant there was a great array of vintage and new items along with food.  http://www.spitalfields.co.uk/

We went to Giraffe for some lunch (check out the Lemonade with mint in a jam jar glass when you go) to build up our strength for Brick lane.  Then it was over to the pop-up markets on Bricklane and a wander through the streets.  http://www.visitbricklane.org/

After all that looking and walking, we went for some cake at Maison Trois Garcons, which I had never been to before.  We all had cake and took a look around all the cafe, in which everything was for sale.  The chair is a particular favourite!

Live it
H

Dreaming of my very own...Reading nook

I can only dream of one day having a house that would be home to a reading nook.

As the autumn nights draw in there is nothing nicer than cuddling up with a good book.
I Love the idea of dedicating a small area of your home to a place to just relax with your favourite read.  Making it all comfy and cosy with lots of cushions and blankets, surrounded by your favourite reading materials. 
I have a Pinterest board where as per usual you can check out my favourites.
Do you have a special place to go and read, relax or hide away from the weather? A favourite cushion or blanket to keep you cosy?

Have a lovely weekend.
Sammy xxx


Review: The Old School Club

A few weeks ago we visited Battersea in South London to catch up with Inma at The Old School Club.  You may remember we did a The space behind the creative feature with her when she was in the process of moving into new premises and now she is in, so we thought it was about time we went to have a look!

We went to check out the Craft Night and had so much fun chatting away with Inma that we went on for much longer than is usual for a craft night! ooops.  There are loads of different workshops though as well as the craft night, so do check out their website for more information.

The Old School Club is based in some industrial units just off the main road and there are lots of independent businesses as well as designer/makers who are based there, making a nice atmosphere to work in.  We were there for the Craft Night and so most of them had gone home but it was a nice relaxing space all the same.

We started off with a tour of the venue - great for our nosey selves!

There is a big open space for the huge crafting table in the centre.  Inma's husband has been hunting on Ebay to get all the furniture that is in the venue and he has definitely come up trumps - very envious.  The crafting table holds the craft nights and some of the other workshops that do not require lots of space.  As you can fit quite a few people around the table it gives a real homely feel to the workshops.

There is a bank of sewing machines on your right as you walk in, which is always nice to see.  So alongside hand-sewing you can learn some new machine sewing skills too.  We really wanted to get our hands on them, but not this time!

There is a corner nook with sofas and magazines to read which can also be used for knitting or crochet workshops or just for somewhere to have a comfy sit down.

There is a creche which has been lovingly decorated by Nicola from BB-Berkeley with a Peter Rabbit Theme.  Parents can bring their children and let them play in the creche or there are plenty of workshops for children too!  The Spanish lessons and sewing school are always a winner with kids of all ages right up to teenagers, amongst many other workshops of course, have a look.

There is a second floor which at the moment is dedicated to studio for hire space and storage.  You can hire this space as a studio or office (they call it Cocrafting, cute), have a look at the rates here if you are a company nearby and need a bit of extra space.  Well needed for all those work-from-home companies I would have thought!

Once we had finished taking a look at the venue it was down to Craft Night! yey.  It was nice for us to take part in one for a change, rather than run it!

We were going to be embroidering a linen handkerchief with an initial.  So first thing first was to blind stitch the edge to make it nice and neat.  It had been a while since I (H) had done this and so Inma's instruction came in very handy.  Then it was over to choosing the text style we wanted the initial in.  Inma photocopied us some pages from her mum's very lovely collection of font styles.  Then it was over to transferring it onto the linen to start embroidering using plenty of different stitches.

It was really nice to sit down and chat with some biscuits and a drink - You can get drinks or biscuts throughout the time you are there.  Also it was lovely to do something a bit different than we would be doing at home.

Do let us know if you get to go, it really is a little oasis space in the middle of Battersea and so really central to London for a different night.  What's your favourite workshop space?  Let us know if there is anywhere you think we should check out?  We are always on the hunt for new workshops or places to visit.

Love it
H