31 May 2013

Friday Favourite: Geometry


I can't believe it's the last day of May already, where did that month go!?!  Moving on... I am totally crushing on anything Geometric at the moment, Anyone with me? I have a whole heap of pretty angles to share with you today. My fave pay-day place, Etsy.com is brimming with cute colour combinations and patterns to indulge my newest love and a couple of my favourite Blogs are in on the act too!  (Apologies for over use of the word Geometric, just cant help myself!)

So whether your shopping this weekend or getting your craft on make sure its colourful and Geometric!
Have a great one

Sammy xxx 

30 May 2013

Live it: Liverpool


Last weekend I found myself in Liverpool for a hen party, but I'm not going to tell you about that part as what goes on the hen party, stays on the hen party.  It's not a city I have explored much I must admit, I have been there once before on a day trip and so this was a good excuse to go for a wander whilst I waited for the train I had booked on.  One of the great things about booking on trains is that its cheaper if you get on a certain one, but sometimes it can mean a bit of a wait.  On this occasion it turned out to be a great idea and a lovely day to explore as the weather was brilliant, hardly a cloud in the sky!

I thought I would go down to the docks as I had been to the Tate before and so thought as it is the 25th anniversary it would be worth a look.  It turned out that the Mersey River Festival was on and so it was VERY busy! But that did mean I got to see a fly past, some people singing in the street and lots of boats.

Undeterred, I thought I would check out the Museum of Liverpool instead as I definitely hadn't done that, and being as I love a good museum, I thought it would tick my culture box for the weekend.

On the way I saw a lady doing some stitching and so went to check it out.  She was adding French knots to a scarf as a piece of art and was asking people to have a go, well, who was I to say no.  So I had a go and my work will be on this artwork forever, how cool.

Anyway, back to my wander, and I made it to the Museum of Liverpool which was busy, but as it was such a nice day I guess it wasn't as bad as it could have been, it was also free!  yey.

I thought I would start from the top and walked up this amazing curved staircase, 84 steps apparently, to the third floor.  Then there were different sections to go into, some about popular culture - Beatles anyone! and also boxing and football.  They had these really cool coloured pods above you which had images projected inside which made the tall space feel less voluminous. 

Then you could wind down the stairs and learn more about the Romans and Medieval history etc and I saw they have 3 education spaces, which for me as an education worker was fascinating!  Lots of space to do different things and break-out spaces for the kids to learn.  I am imagining they have more staff then my little museum though, but it is a bigger museum overall so I guess that would be fair.  On the ground floor you learnt more about the industry and heritage of Liverpool, from the factories to the docks themselves - which gives this city its diverse history.

Also I managed to find out what the Superlamabananas were all about.  These different coloured and designed creatures are all around Liverpool and I guess they are a similar idea to the Elephant Family which was around London a few years ago.  There is a huge one in the city centre and then smaller ones dotted around.  The main Superlamabana was designed by the artist Taro Chiezo but was only 4ft tall, the full-size 17ft replica was made by four local artists: Andy Small, Julian Taylor, Tommy Reason and Ray Stokes and all the others (125 in all) were decorated by local communities/artists for the 2008 European Capital of Culture.  Such a good way to get people interested in and involved in Public art and make it fun too!

It was a really interesting museum and there were pockets of space where there was works of art from local artists, which is always nice to see in a museum of this size.  I also found the note above which had been pinned to a feedback wall - I love it!  There was of course the obligatory cafe and shop too, so a little peruse around the shop before I headed back out into the sunshine.

I did then fully intend to make my way over to the Tate, but it was so busy, they were stopping people going over the bridge over to the area at the time I went and so I thought I would take a wander into the city centre instead as I needed to have a little look to buy some shoes for the wedding that is coming up and so I thought it might be a good place to look.  As it turned out, it was and I found a little pair of flats to go with my outfit, oh yes and a cheeky pair of sandals too!

It was a brief but really interesting couple of hours to explore the city.  Where would you go if you had a couple of hours to explore?

H

29 May 2013

Live it: Sew Crafty... We are TEN!

This Friday it will be ten years since Mum and I took on our little shop. This is still amazing to me that we have been doing this for so long. We have learned so much in our time running Sew Crafty. I finally think we have just the right balance of product and with the renovations we have been making (still not quite finished) our shop has a new lease of life.

Our fabric shelves have had a lick of paint, Our feature table is still awaiting it's makeover, I will show you when it's done, I have a little something special in mind...
I thought I would include a few before and after photos.


I love my new desk area! Again it's still a work in progress bit it is getting there.

Our Haberdashery wall used to be a bit of a jumble. It has also had a new paint job along with a new shelving unit for our fabric dyes. We have sectioned up the product and my Dad is making some frames (which should be ready soon) to separate the products into groups. It looks a bit empty for now, but we still have all the same product as before.



I am so pleased with all the changes we have made over the past few months. The new colour scheme shows off our stock to it's best and it has made Mum and I look at our space in a different way. We are just waiting for our new sign to be finished and a few other finishing touches, but we love our new look.

I would love to know about your favourite places to buy Fabric and Haberdashery, in your local town or online, let me know in the comments below.

Sammy xxx

28 May 2013

Craft Storage Sammy's Craft Room

You may remember back in January, H and I shared our Craft Spaces.
Recently I have had a few people asking questions about how I store my craft supplies and wanting a closer look at my craft room so I thought I would share a few of my storage solutions with you today.

I am a person who needs to see everything I have, otherwise I forget and supplies go unused. My mum once bought me a card that said "My room is not a mess, I just have have everything on display...like a Museum'' meant to be a joke, I'm sure, but totally my way of thinking.

Most of the storage I have accumulated over the years have been charity shop finds. Pots and bowls, mugs and jars, trays and boxes all collected with storage in mind.
I keep my pens in a collection of jars and mugs, I love my S mug from Anthropologie but the handle is a little small to use as a mug so I popped my craft tools in it. As you can see I keep small buttons and random bits and bobs in glass bonbon dishes so I can pick out little embellishments when I need them.

Old school letter holders are a great for things like stickers, I can easily flick through to get what I need.  I also keep all my alphabet sets together in a clear box next to them so all my stickers are together. These are both on my windowsill in front of me so I have decorated them with little trinkets and gifts from friends that make me smile.

I have a crazy amount of buttons! I have collected them all my life, so when I found this set of massive glass storage jars for £1.00 each in my local charity shop I pounced.  I have organised my shelves by colour, so I have my buttons organised by colour too. It is so much fun going through my collection to find just the right one, like rummaging in a sweet shop!

I use silicone cupcake cases for collecting together little bits for projects or for sorting out sets of buttons. The ribbon boxes were a gift from my mum, I keep all my skinny ribbons in those as they get so tangled otherwise. You could easily punch holes into some small storage boxes to create something similar. Kilner jars are great for storing small embellishments because they are clear you can see things easily and you can normally pick them up for a pound or two in charity shops.

My wider ribbons are all wound onto these little kraft bobbins I found from boqinana
 on Etsy.com and stored in these fabric drawers I found in a charity shop. Another piece of storage I love is this cake stand where I store my favourite handle stamps, fabric labels, my bucket pincushion, clips and pins. It is a great space saver.

This little shelving unit thing I have had since I was little, it used to hang on my bedroom wall with lots of little ornaments in, I found it in my parents loft a while ago and gave it a lick of paint, so I can store all of my most used stamps and punches in.

This is a ceramic paint mixing tray, it has cute little segments, perfect for little jewellery findings and odd beads. I can separate them by theme or colour so when I have a little collection together I can make something that is co-ordinated.

I hope you enjoyed that little close up tour of my favourite craft storage. 
How do you store your crafts? We would love to see! Put a link in the comments and we will come take a look.

Sammy xxx

27 May 2013

Link for the week: Books for good



This week's link has a little charity flavour.

You might remember a few weeks ago Sammy did a post about Breakthrough Breast Cancer's fundraising fashion.  They have just added a new campaign and as its related to books (which I LOVE) we thought it only fair you guys should know about it.


Breakthrough Breast Cancer has teamed up with Penguin and WHSmith to launch the Read Pink - Make a Difference campaign.  Each of the Read Pink titles carry a 50p donation to Breakthrough Breast Cancer and  WHSmith are offering a "buy one get one half price" promotion on the titles!  Even better.

I have heard about some of the books on the list and also read a few.  My favourite being The Help by Kathryn Stockett.  This book is about African-American maids from the Deep South in the 1960's who decide to help a woman write a book about their treatment at the hands of their white employers.  This is a hard hitting subject which really lets you into the world in which women in the deep south would have been in.  It is an uplifting book though, all that being said and you come out of it knowing that people who believe in each other and trust each other really do win.

Anyway, back to the books:

Belle - Lesley Pearse
Stolen - Lesley Pearse
Trust Me - Lesley Pearse
The Promise - Lesley Pearse
The Help - Kathryn Stockett
Foursome - Jane Fallon
The Ugly Sister - Jane Fallon
The Patchwork Marriage - Jane Green
Mr Maybe - Jane Green
Accidental Husband - Jane Green
The Mystery of Mercy Close - Marian Keyes
Anybody Out There - Marian Keyes
Sushi For Beginners - Marian Keyes
Rachel's Holiday - Marian Keyes
The Seamstress - Maria Duenas
The Postmistress - Sarah Blake
The Girl You Left Behind - JoJo Moyes
Me Before You - JoJo Moyes
Lake of Dreams - Kim Edwards
The Memory Keepers Daughter - Kim Edwards
Secret Life of Evie Hamilton - Catherine Alliot
A Rural Affair - Catherine Alliot
One Day In May - Catherine Alliot
Between A Mother & Her Child - Elizabeth Noble
The Way We Were - Elizabeth Noble
The Friendship Test - Elizabeth Noble
What The Nanny Saw - Fiona Neill
The Fever Tree - Jennifer McVeigh
Women Who Went To Bed For A Year - Sue Townsend
Pieces of My Heart - Sinead Moriarty

So, pop on down to WHSmith and check out which one, or two or three of the books you want to go for.  I have heard really good things about The Seamstress and Accidental Husband.

Let me know which ones you go for.

Live it
H

24 May 2013

Friday Favourite: Oh Mr Gatsby...

"I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties there isn't any privacy."
― F. Scott FitzgeraldThe Great Gatsby



I am off to see The Great Gatsby tonight with My lovely friend Verity. My Mum, H and Anna saw it last week and it has been so hard not talking to them about it, I can't wait to discuss all the details, mostly the costumes! 

The majority of the costumes for the film were designed by Prada and Mui Mui so there is no doubt they will be stunning. We know that the movies and TV play a big role in the fashion industry, So I thought a Gatsby fashion themed Friday Favourites would be appropriate. Yummy pleats, fringing, embellishments  t-bar shoes, lace and all things Art Deco!

Last year our Verity had a Gatsby themed Birthday party, It was an amazing day, everyone made a real effort and dresses up, despite it being the hottest day of the year!
 This is a photo that My Hubby took of Me and H at the party looking super glam.
Have a great weekend
Sammy xxx

23 May 2013

Love it: Pop Up Shops

Pop-up shops are currently opening up everywhere you look and if it's not a shop it's a restaurant in a retail unit or living room (for a supper club type affair).  For anyone who doesn't already know pop-up shops are basically short-term sales spaces that are fitted out to utilise a retail unit whether that be in-between lets or more recently for units that are laying empty for longer periods of time. 

As I mentioned these first started coming about with restaurants and perhaps even Christmas time short lets, but now these pop-ups have been utilised by craft collectives to showcase their work and use the designer/makers as volunteer shop staff to keep them going.

I thought I would talk about a couple that I have come across and perhaps you can find some and tell us where they are to check them out.
I am sure you have heard us talk about the Craft Coop over in Maidenhead and you can see a few posts here and here.  We also did a who's who with them right back in early 2012 and you can also find out a bit more about their current pop-up in Maidenhead town centre here.

I also managed to have a look at the We Make London pop-up shop in Camden Market this week, which I have been meaning to go to for a few weeks.  A few of our friends have got some of their wares in the shop and so it was a good excuse to go take a nosey when I knew Becky from The Craft Closet was on duty. You can see their kits in the photo above.

Plus I had seen a sneak peek on their website and had my eye on one of the 'I am acrylic' blackbird necklaces - top picture.  (which I can safely say I got, oh yes and another necklace from Boobou jumped into my bag!) I did just about manage to leave the rest of the shop behind though, but Kate Rowland's rocket earrings are next on my list I think! (see below)
So, if you see a pop-up shop go check it out and if you happen to be in Maidenhead or London, do check out the shops above as you won't be disappointed.  You will, however have a lighter purse when you leave as there are so many lovely products in store for you to buy something really unique and special as a present or just for yourself!

Live it
H



22 May 2013

Love it: Sew Crafty Window Display Special


Last week I was invited by the Manager of the Nicholson's Shopping Centre in Maidenhead, to discuss a proposal she had for me. Intrigued, I went along to the meeting where she offered me the chance to use one of the empty shop units for a Great British Sewing Bee inspired display, to help advertise my shop. You may remember when we first took over Sew Crafty (Orxiom fabrics as it was then) we were residents of the centre. Lots of people to this day still ask if we are the shop that used to be there. Anyway, of course I jumped at the chance, Mostly because I love window dressing, I'm sure I get this from my Dad, as he used to fit window displays in Harrod's when he was a teenager. Also because as much as I love our window at work, it has its limitations, it was so fun to be let loose in a new, empty space.
I spent the week collecting together props and making examples to use in the display to best show off our products and on Friday my Dad and I spent the whole afternoon in Unit 27 setting up our display.

Here is what the unit looked like before, displaying some of Teresa Mills lovely mosaics. You can see that the window is spilt into four sections separated by a door.

We used the two smaller sections to display costume ideas as we sell a lot of fabrics and accessories for making costumes. When the schools have Book week our shop is a busy place, we love helping parents out with costumes for their kids to play dress up! We have put a poster in a fabric covered frame to tell people where to come to get all their sewing goodies.

 The other two windows we dedicated to more traditional sewing fayre. We used the top window as a dream sewing table of sorts, with a mood board, a sewing machine and supplies, books, trimmings and yarns. The bottom window we used as more of a display space showing off some pieces we made from the show and some customising ideas.


We tried to use a mix of our products with some from mine and my mums collections, like you would have at home.

A glass dish with new and vintage buttons in front of a collection of Cloth magazines. The Sewing Bee book is on display surrounded by ribbons, fabrics and My Tilda bunny.

I set up a little design station too with a sketch book and samples in front of our mood board, which is brimming with cuttings and ideas from Company and  Cloth magazine.


I was really pleased with the end result, it looks like a work space any respectful sewer would be proud of. Hopefully it will inspire a few people to take the short walk down to our end of the High Street and pay us a visit.

This is the pretty little sheared dress my Mum made, the same as the one they made on episode 3 of the Sewing Bee. The Sewing machine is on loan from the lovely Anna (aka Thumbelina design) and the mug is mine that I use at work that was a gift from my friend Claire for my birthday, I'm missing it already!

Hope you enjoyed that little peek at our display, if you want to come down and take a look for yourself it's in Unit 27, opposite Iceland in the Nicholson's Shopping Centre, Maidenhead until the 29th of June. Whilst you here, you can pop down and see us at Sew Crafty (3 High Street, Maidenhead) at the same time!

Sammy xxx

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