30 Aug 2013

Holidays are coming, holidays are coming....

I am aware that as some of you read this you will think I am crazy for wishing away the last remnants of our ( in the end pretty decent)  British summer, but Autumn and Winter are my favourite times of the year. I cannot wait for Sunday when it will be the 1st of September, when I am allowed to start being excited about it and allowed to mention the word.... Christmas!
Be aware that there are lots of wintry images and words that follow.
My favourite things about the coming seasons are...

The smell of : Cinnamon, Pine needles, Peppermint and Apples.

The clothes I get to wear : Jumpers, hats, scarves, gloves, boots and snugly socks.

The views I get to see : Autumn leaves, Snow, Frost, bonfires
and the first showing of the Christmas Coke advert!

The Food I get to eat : Shepherds pie, Jacket potatoes, Apple pie and Tomato soup.

The events I get to attend : Halloween parties, Bonfire night, Christmas shopping, Boxing day
and New Year's Eve. 

And shopping for: Wrapping paper, Gifts, Christmas dinner and Craft supplies.

What are your favourite things about Autumn and Winter? Are you going to miss Summer?
Or like me are you excited for the new season?
Sammy xxx

29 Aug 2013

Summer fun - week 5

 

This week is the final week of the school holidays, parents rejoice as your kids go back to school and you don't have to think about stuff to do with them on the rainy days - sunny days are easier as a trip to the park can always be done.

We have a breather at The Lightbox, as it affords us a few days off before the school visits start!

But, back to this week, we have been doing our drop-in activities and paid workshops as usual and this week has been felt creatures, drawing games, picture frames and bubbles on Friday of course! phew.

What has been your favourite of our holiday activities? Is there anything you remember doing as a child that you want to come back?  Let us know in the comments, who knows it could be at a workshop near you soon!

Make it
H


28 Aug 2013

Make it: Lemon and Vanilla cake



You may have noticed here over at Live it. Love it. Make it, that we LOVE cake!  There is never any reason not to have cake as far as we are concerned!

We have a few friends who make cupcakes and cakes as well, so it would be rude not to indulge! But today's beauty is all H and so of course there is a little difference than the norm of a Vanilla sponge with Jam - it wouldn't be H without it!

This is a Lemon and Vanilla sponge cake with butter cream and Lemon curd inside.  It went down a storm at work as usual and managed to not even make it to the 10.30am tea break for some!  There are some definite cake monsters at H's work! - you know who you are.

This is so simple to make and as you can see there are three cake layers to make it a mammoth cake as H felt that 2 layers just didn't look big enough - of course!  Now, if you only want 2 layers, then just do 2 thirds of the mix.  H's mum has been making this type of cake for years and its always in cookery books as a simple cake to be able to change up to whatever you want to make it into.

So to the Recipe:

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees/Gas Mark 4

For the cake
150g self raising flour
150g caster sugar
150g butter/margarine
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
a few drops vanilla essence
1/2 lemon juice

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl until light and fluffy.  If the dough is too thick add a couple of teaspoons of warm water.

Split the mixture into 3 cake moulds or if using a tall cake tin, just do it in one go and cut the layers later.  You can then see if you want 2 or 3 layers then.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Let cool down completely


For the Filling

One filling was just Lemon Curd from a Jar - I know I could have made my own, but sometimes life is just too short!

The other filling is a simple butter cream:

250g butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
600g Icing Sugar
2 tablespoons of milk

Mix the butter and icing sugar together - add the icing sugar slowly as otherwise you will end up with a sugar cloud!

Add the vanilla essence and if required the milk to the consistency you want.

When the cake layers have cooled completely, add the butter cream and lemon curd as you want it.  H did the lower layer and top with the butter cream and then a middle layer of lemon curd. Yum!



Do you have any fail safe recipes you do regularly, we would love to hear them.  If you follow us on Instagram, we usually take pictures of the cake we eat and whatever else we get up to, so go check us out, you can find both H and Sammy on there.

Make it
H & Sammy

27 Aug 2013

Sammy's Bedroom Makeover Moodboard

I hope you all had a really lovely bank holiday weekend, I spent yesterday sorting out and de-cluttering our bedroom because I have been planning a mini makeover.  When we moved in to our house five years ago, It was pretty well decorated so we just moved our furniture in and left it.  I obviously share my bedroom with my husband Steve so I have to bear him in mind when I am thinking about refreshing our room. I am also trying to save money for a very exciting trip next year so I am trying to makeover our space on a budget. Now that I have tidied up, it is much easier to see what changes I can make. I have been pinning some ideas to a Pinterest board so that I could make a mood board to work from and here it is...

 I have chosen colours that compliment the already neutral paint job/ wallpaper in our room, as I don't really want to be stripping wallpaper because as I said  it's pretty neutral. My favourite colour is purple and a few months ago we bought new bedding in shades of purple so I knew I wanted to include that in my scheme. The addition I am most excited about is the aqua/ turquoise shade. It fits in really well into the existing scheme, but will give it a lift and is not too girlie for Steve. 

 I will be able to give you a few updates as bits get done and a few before and afters. I hope you liked the little sneak peak into my plans for the next few weekends. 
What did you get up to over the bank holiday weekend?? 
Sammy xxx

26 Aug 2013

Link for the week: Sweetie time

SWEETJARS
Photo courtesy of www.mrsimmsoldesweetshoppe.co.uk
So, over the lovely long weekend both Sammy and I popped over to a friends housewarming which was lovely to catch up with good friends and some lovely food.

There was even some sweets to take away with us at the end - an adult party goodie bag if you will! I love those!

Anyway, it got me thinking about the old sweets we used to have as kids (usually for 1p or 2p down at the local shop) and then I found this weeks link! Yey


I particularly love Jazzies, foam bananas and flying saucers, but to be fair most sweets will do!

Go check out this company and fill your boots with sweets at one of their stores or just buy online if you really can't wait!

Love it
H


23 Aug 2013

Make it: Fabric envelopes


H and I are both big stationary geeks, we can spend hours in places like Paperchase. I Love it when I can combine my love of paper with fabric, this weeks Favourite Friday is no exception. Look at all these yummy fabric envelopes!
 I Love sending real letters and I love to receive post that isn't bills. I was surfing Pinterest the other day and came across some darling fabric envelopes, so I searched around for some DIY's to share with you. Here are my favourites.

Aren't they beautiful, I am going to rummage in my fabric stash to find some pretty fabrics to make some of these with.  On a foodie note, we have an exciting announcement to make soon, can't wait to share it with you all.  Also did you all catch the first episode of  The Great British Bake Off? If not catch the repeat this Sunday at 7pm or on iPlayer the first episode is all about Cake, yum. One of my favourite shops Hobbycraft have just launched a great range of products to accompany the series, why not hop over to their website and check out the range. Even better if you are looking to order anything this weekend Hobycraft have kindly offered us a discount code to get free standard UK delivery on all orders! Brilliant! 


Enter

FREEPOSTBH
at the check out to get free delivery!
 Free Standard UK Delivery on all Orders
Available until midnight on Monday 26th of August

What are you up to this weekend ? What will you be making?
Or will you be baking???
Sammy xxx

22 Aug 2013

Summer fun - week 4


It's the penultimate week of the holidays now at The Lightbox, so we are into week 4.  Due to the nature of having so many sessions in the summer holidays, we have done a few of the workshops a few times now.  Some are more popular than others.  Although this week we did something for the first time, made Origami Bookmarks, which then got some decoration in the ways of making animals or whatever the kids wanted to turn them into.  These are so simple and it went down very well, so I think some more origami might happen next summer too.

And this week it has been sunny, so we have had the extra bonus of being able to go outside and do some chalk drawings, which always makes a nice change.

I think the parents have just as much fun drawing as the kids do!

Make it
H

21 Aug 2013

Letters to our teenage selves

Whist I was going through some of my Grandpa's things the other day with my Mum and came across a book I gave him for Christmas a few years ago, you may have heard of it
It is filled with letters written by a lot of celebrities and people of note to their past selves, some giving advice, guidance and the occasional telling off.
They are fascinating to read and I was glad I re-discovered it.

One of my favourites is this one by Alan Carr.

I was telling H about it when we were on holiday and we thought it would be fun to write letters of our own, so here they are...

Sammy's letter
To Sam, (aged 16) 
Knowing you like I do, if you knew where I was writing to you from you would tell me to go get a Tequila! 
I want to tell you so much, mostly I want  you to know that it  is OK to be exactly who you are. You were right to make 'No fear no regrets' your mantra, it will serve you well... that being said I want to talk about boys! 
The one your with, you can do better. The one you want to be with, get over him, trust me it's never going to happen and it's stopping you from being happy. On a side note - Alcohol- it's not going to run out so calm down
Spend more time with Grandpa, you will miss him when he is gone, stop fighting with Mum, she is cooler than you think and Dad, dispute what you think ( you are so alike) he is proud of you -always. 
Pay more attention in business studies - seriously.
I want to leave you with some certainties... you are so loved, you will be deliriously happy and you will deserve it.
All My Love 
Sammy (aged 31)

H's letter

To Heather,
You will never guess where I am writing to you from...  It's your very own 'Back to the Future' moment!
I wanted to tell you a few things that should help you get through the next few years.
1.  Be yourself - you are pretty cool as you are and trying to be someone else just doesn't work for you.
2.  Forget the people who don't give you their time or appreciate you - you will find more amazing friends than you ever thought you could.
3.  Don't worry about that Art GCSE result, you really will get to a place where you can be creative everyday.
4.  Try not to plan everything - sometimes going in the moment is ok.
5.  Everything you do and Everything you are is a reflection from your amazing family and friends.
This all sounds very serious I know, but I think every year until now will teach you these things so it's always good to have a little hindsight.
Oh and one last thing, some people for some unknown reason just sometimes say stupid stuff - not worth your time thinking and overthinking it.
Love of love
Me, xxx

We definitely found it harder than we thought to write these, probably because it is quite a long time since we were 16! but it was a really fun exercise to do.
Have you read the book? 
What would you tell your sixteen year old self?

Sammy and H xxx

20 Aug 2013

Top 10 Craft Tools

Today I'm going to share my top ten craft tool essentials. These are the products and brands that I use most often in my own craft kit. 

1. A die cutter is a brilliant tool, whether you work with paper or fabric, I have a Silhouette Cameo from Crafts-U-Love but there are lots of other options out there. I started off five years ago with a Sizzex big shot machine (which I recently donated with all my old dies to H's Museum), then I moved on to a Making Memories Slice machine, before upgrading last Christmas to my Silhouette. The best thing about Die-cutters is that you get a really professional clean cut and the amount of different materials you can cut with them. I would totally recommend looking into the best one you can afford and working your way up, depending on how much you find you use it. 

2. Fiskars classic general purpose scissors are my favourite fabric scissors, because the actual dressmaking scissors are a little large for my small piggy fingers I find. I adore Fiskars brand products, they are just such brilliant quality and being orange, I can always spot them in my sewing box. 

3. Another classic Fiskars product are their Pinking shears, they are by far the best I have ever owned and I have owned a lot of different brands. They are generally not a cheap option, so I would totally recommend popping them on your Christmas list (yes I am aware that is the second time I have mentioned Christmas, sorry I know its only August) but they are worth every penny. Crafty tip: If you want your fabric scissors and pinking shears to last... Never cut paper with them, ever! it will blunt your blades, you can buy cheaper alternatives to cut paper. It is also worth avoiding beaded or sequin fabrics, unless you remove them along the cutting line before you cut. 

4. 3 in 1 pliers are a brilliant addition to any craft kit. they are obviously great for beading and jewellery making but they are also great for wire work and grabbing hold of small dainty bits and bobs. 

5. I got my first Xacto knife 10 years ago, it was one of the first freebies I was given from one of my suppliers at Sew Crafty. I have since bought about 7 more. Definitely one of the best craft tools I own. I now have to buy refills online but it is the best craft knife I have ever used. I like the fact that the blades are small and neat, it means that you can be really precise with your cuts and are much less likely to slice yourself. However they are VERY sharp, so always use them with extreme caution. 

6. Scotch double sided tape is by far the best double sided tape, bar none. This stuff is gorgeously sticky. I use it on paper, fabric, cork, card, plastic and basically anything I need to stick together. I mostly use it for card making, but it is the best double sided tape I have found. 

7. A Heat gun is something I have had for ages and don't use that often but it is a great tool to have. It is great to use for shrink plastic, but also I use it for drying paint and for effects with watercolour. 

8. If I can't use my double sided tape I will be using my Gutteman HT2 glue. It is fast drying clear glue, I have many glues in my collection, but this is by far my favourite. 

9. I love my rolling alphabet stamp, I have had mine for a while and have used it a lot. I bought mine from Etsy.com a while ago and seem to be a little cheaper now than when I bought mine, but they are definitely a good buy. It is perfect for making personalised ribbon.

10. This is a crafting staple, a Staz-on ink pad. It can take a long time to dry on some surfaces but it is great for using on fabric and shiny paper. 

I hope that was helpful to some of you who are looking to top up your craft tool boxes. 
What are your favourite crafting tools? Do you love your fancy crochet hooks? or do you have a favourite brand you love? We would love to hear your thoughts 

Sammy xxx

19 Aug 2013

Link for the week: Must See Exhibitions

Hello all and it's that time of the week where I tell you about something new to go and take a look at.

This week, it's a few exhibitions that I really want to go see.  Some of which I don't think I will get around to but I thought I would share with them with you guys and if you have been or do go, them please do leave a comment below about what it was like.

First up is the Zandra Rhodes exhibition at the Fashion and Textile Museum in London.  This place is a little known museum I feel, but its definitely worth a visit.  I went a few years ago for a Sanderson exhibition and loved it.


I feel this may well be one of the exhibitions I won't get to though as it finishes at the end of this month and I just don't see me squeezing in a time to get there. So if you go, please let me know what it was like.

Next up is an exhibition at my favourite museum, the V&A.  We all know I love it here so no introductions needed to the museum but this exhibition on 'Club to Catwalk, London fashion in the 1980's' looks so good.


I missed the Hollywood costumes exhibition a few years ago - as it was always fully booked and so I am determined not to miss this one!

And finally, it's an exhibition on 'Extraordinary stories about Ordinary things' at the Design Museum. 


I love objects and seeing what people think of boring items which can be seen in a different way. It was one of my main research loves when I did my masters a few years back and it has stayed with me.

So, I think that's enough for one day.  Hope you get to go see something soon too, let me know in the comments below.

Live it
H

16 Aug 2013

Friday Favourites: Constellations


I am a big fan of stars. I love the shape of five pointed stars in particular, I even have a tattoo of five of them on my back, so I am currently loving the Autumn trend for all things celestial, and constellations is one of my favourites. I have been scouring Etsy.com for the perfect necklace, I really want one of my constellation Pisces, I cant decide between a gold one or a black and white one. Whilst I was searching I came across some lovely things, so I thought I would share them today.

What are your favourite trends for Autumn? Are you looking forward to seeing what trends are coming in for the new season?
Have a lovely weekend 
Sammy xxx

15 Aug 2013

Summer fun - Week 3

It's week 3 now and our last Gnome making session!  It was definitely interesting making up these little guys and seeing what different characters the families made.  We even had a group of 80 year olds who got involved in making them.

We have also been making Secret Garden's in Jars which follows on the Garden theme.  You can tell their is a Garden Designer exhibition on at the moment at The Lightbox.  It is about a lady called Gertrude Jekyll who just did about every job to do with Gardening, painter, designer, author, botanist.  The list goes on and if your into garden's you should definitely check it out before it closes on the 8th September this year.

Make it 
H

14 Aug 2013

Who's Who: For All We Know

This month our who's who is about Sarah from for all we know, who we met at the Craft Candy Launch back in March.

Her work is very lovely and she has some amazing prints - H especially loves the Hot gossip pattern!

Who are you?
Sarah Haines, designer, producer, artist, maker and project manager!

What do you do?
I develop eco-conscious homewares and graphic art prints.  I love up cycling and often work with second hand ceramics to create new decorative pieces or re-purposed products. This could be a second hand pre-loved plate which is decorated with my designs and kiln fired in Stoke-on-Trent to make a decorative plate.  Or a pretty vintage plate or cup which has been re-purposed into a bird-feeder or a clock!


How did you start?
I've always been interested in making and creating artwork since a child.  I went to art college, then onto a degree in Interior Design, however after a few years it was clear I had better chances of staying employed if I switched my talents and design knowledge to a career in project management.  Even when my day job didn't allow for creativity I continued to create, draw, print, photograph for my own pleasure.  A couple of years ago I was made redundant from a busy Project Management role and I decided to take the opportunity to spend more time on what I loved.  Being creative.  I felt it was time to start braving it, and go alone for a while.

What's Next?
Now that would be telling!  All I can say is fingers-crossed, hopefully I should get some freelance work which will help pay my bills whilst my creative projects continue in the background.

What advice would you give yourself if you could go back to the beginning?
That's a tricky one.  Perhaps, be good and do your bookkeeping on a daily basis?  Boring but true.  Would I listen? No!

We think Sarah has some pretty sound advice, some which I am sure we all wish we listen to.  Her prints are amazing and I think some definite birthday present ideas I think.

For more about for all we know:

Visit the Shop:
  w http://www.forallweknow.co.uk/

  Follow them:
  t https://twitter.com/#!/fawk_tweets

  Like their page:  
  f  https://www.facebook.com/forallweknow.co.uk


H & Sammy

13 Aug 2013

Guilty Pleasures: YouTube Beauty Vloggers

Guilty pleasures.  Those little things that bring a smile to your face everytime without fail, that your not quite sure you should admit to. We all have them, whether it's listening to Brittany Spears on full blast and singing along whist no one is watching, or having a Step Up movie marathon.

H and I have a new-ish guilty pleasure and we feel the need to share, we are a little (read: a lot) in love with (UK) beauty You Tube vloggers right now!  Vlogging for those of you who are unsure is Video Blogging (see what they did there) so rather than, or as well a writing a blog you make videos and upload them to YouTube or Viemo.

We have some mutual favourites and some that each of us like more but we are just going to share our top five today.  Despite the fact that most of these girls are quite a bit younger than ourselves, we love watching their videos (hence guilty pleasure not just a normal one). We are pretty sure that we are way off their target demographic, but you can't help but love these girls. I *Sammy* am a little obsessed with their secondary channels too, its the nosey neighbour in me. Their recommendations have even encouraged H to buy and try some new make up (this never happens!) 

I'm sure some of you will know of at least one or two of these girls and if you don't, get over to You Tube and start subscribing, follow them on twitter, facebook, instagram, Internet stalk them as much as you like, go on you know you want to!
(disclaimer: we do not encourage actual stalking)

Louise was our gateway if you will.  We have followed her blog for a few years now as we found her when searching for other UK blogs just at the time we started ours, but didn't really get in to her You Tube channel until recently (we used to just watch her videos on her blog).  Louise is super sweet and comes across as really approachable. She talks about beauty and make up, but also cover more serious subjects and shares her feelings about being plus-sized, her recent plus size look book video prompted me *Sammy* to raid my wardrobe.  Oh and as you can tell from her name she love a bit of glitter, what's not to love!

Watching Zoe is like watching the little sister we never had, she is so damn cute! And boy does she have good taste in products, we have both been out and bought products on her recommendation. (currently loving Bourjois nail vanish remover pot and lip boost crayons)

The beauty vlogger that everyone wants to follow, mainly I think because she is B-E-A-utiful, outside and in! She comes across as such a normal, humble girl with such a genuine nature. Her tutorials are current, achievable and easy to follow. So much so that despite having done a smoky eye on my own for like, forever, I *Sammy* sat make-up brushes in hand the other night and followed her night out smoky eye tutorial for a night out with the girls.

These two gorgeous sisters are like miracle workers with eye-shadow! A little closer to our own ages we feel far less guilty about watching hours of beauty vids from these two gorgeous ladies. Samantha (great name) has her own range of make-up brushes (of which I own quite a few) They also have a digital magazine as well as their blog and You Tube channel. They are both professional make-up artists, they write for magazines and present on Daily Mix. Is there anything these girls can't do? 

H loves this girl, she is super feisty, and blogs about all sorts of things as well as make-up, including baking and fashion. Jess also has a cute Tumblr account too! 

These are just a few of the ones we subscribe to, You Tube in the UK does seem to be a hang out for the young, but not exclusively. I have noticed that the girls from A Beautiful Mess have been uploading more videos on their channel lately and there are tonnes of craft tutorials available too.

We are toying with the idea and have been for a while, of making some crafty videos, what do you think? Should we dip our toes in to the You Tube pond??  I *Sammy* definitely want to start making them, mostly so I can one day maybe film with Louise, I would totally love to have a fun crafting day with Sprinkle of Glitter, How awesome would that be!

What are your current guilty pleasures? Do you watch You Tube videos? Who's channels do you subscribe to? 
Sammy xxx

( All image credits go to each respective vlogger, via their websites. Links above)

12 Aug 2013

Link for the week: Sewing Lego

Photo courtesy of www.suchitysuch.blogspot.co.uk
I found this little beauty on Pinterest the other day and couldn't resist showing it to you.  Why would you not want to make a little sewing machine out of Lego!  Combining Lego and sewing for me is my ultimate geek fest!

You can find the tutorial here:


I would love to see if anyone makes this or has any other fun items they make.  Leave a link below and we will take a look.

Make it
H

9 Aug 2013

Make it: D.I.Y Letter Love


I am loving all the cool D.I.Y. initials and letters out here at the moment, Pinterest is bursting with them. I have collected together some of my favourites this week I will definitely be having a go at those penny covered letters this weekend, how about you?

What D.I.Y projects are you having a try at this weekend? let us know in the comments.

Sammy xxx

8 Aug 2013

Summer fun - Week 2

Week 2 of the summer holidays is starting to get busy now at The Lightbox and one of this week's activities is fabric printing.

There are two sessions of this on one day for 4-8 year olds and then 8-16 year olds.  They made their own stamps, stencils and printing equipment and printed up their own tote bag.

This was my effort and I had fun especially using a rolling pin to make a repetitive wave pattern.  Something I have not tried before, but I definitely think I will again.

Have you made your own stamps?  What have you made?

Make it
H

7 Aug 2013

Craft Magazines

You may have seen us asking you on Facebook and Twitter recently about craft magazines? We have been thinking and talking about them a lot lately. One of our favourite magazine's Cloth, recently went under as the publishers found it wasn't getting a good enough readership. We were gutted, Sew Crafty had been stocking Cloth since the very first issue and we blogged about their new look launch back in January. At the moment their website is still up and running so its worth taking a look as there are some awesome downloads still available. 
Back to the topic at hand, despite the loss of Cloth, there are still so many craft magazine options available.  Sammy as we know is a bit of a hoarder and reads tonnes of magazines every month, so we raided the collection and want to talk about a few.   

We are going to chat about general crafting magazines today, there are lots of specific genre mags out there like Sew, Simply Knitting, Scrap 365 etc. but they are for another post or we will be here all day. 

As well as print magazines, the new generation of mags are now available digitally. Sammy has started to get her subscription to quite a few of them that way, as it helps her to not have so many paper mags taking up space in her craft room. Although as you can see from these photos it doesn't always help!

Sammy: I can read them on my ipad, it also means I can use the links on the pages to take me straight to the websites featured in the mag.  I have discovered so many new sites since I have had it digitally. I used to have to make a note of anything I wanted to look up before and didn't always get round to it.  I can take my whole magazine collection with me on my travels too, so on a long train journey I can take my pick of back issues, not just the most recent one I have in my bag.
I subscribe to Mollie Makes, Gathered (a weekly digital only mag from the publishers of Mollie Makes) Homemade with Love, Craftseller, Crafty, Homemaker, Handmade Living  and Scrap 365.

H:  I tend to only read the real magazine as I do love a real life paper based goodness - plus I don't have an ipad which won't help with a digital version.  I am a bit like it with books too and am resisting the Kindle urge.  I must admit though to not reading as many magazines as I probably should as I find they sometimes have similar projects or that it's just too much of an expense some months.


Lets talk a little more about the Queen and Princess of modern crafting magazines.
Mollie Makes was a trail blazer in the 'New' crafting scene. It burst on to the market a couple of years ago with it's Apple cozies in hand (literally) and beautiful photographic styling.  It is the Mag that every designer maker/blogger/crafter wants to be a part of.  Love it or hate it, it has done wonders for an industry that just a few years ago was viewed by so many as a fuddy duddy home for members of the WI craft tent.  From the first issue they have introduced us to so many new and exciting crafts and crafters alike.  From interviews with crafting royalty Jazz Domino Holly to the girls from Drink, Shop & Do and letting us in to the homes and workshops of the best crafters from around the world, you can't deny that Mollie still deserves her crown as the Queen of craft magazines. 
More recently Mollie's little sister, Gathered (digital weekly) has taken up a place in Sammy's heart. A weekly dose of all the best things about it's big sister in smaller bite-size chunks. With small weekend projects and quick read snippet interviews it is a joy to download every Friday.

If Mollie is the Queen, Craftseller is fast becoming a challenge to the throne (allegedly out-selling Mollie last month) After a facelift a few months ago, it seems to have gone from strength to strength.  Taking a twist on the Craft mag genre and offering us more than just crafts to do as a 'hobby'.  Giving us hints and tips on how to make a living in the crafts industry. They seem to have a great relationship with their readers, which I think is the magic ingredient to this previously plucky underdog of a magazine.  Taking a leaf out of the blogging handbook and creating a community around the handmade selling circuit.

Crafty Magazine is the new kid on the block, now on it's fifth issue, aiming towards more 'on-trend' driven crafts and design.  In a manner, Crafty is to design what Mollie Makes is to vintage, but in all honestly we can't see a real difference between this and Mollie.  That is not a bad thing, more classy projects, more well written interviews and features, nothing wrong with that!  We know that some people find they love the way one mag speaks to them over another, but I hope they find their own voice before they go the way of Cloth. 

Homemaker is one of Sammy's current favourites, the clue is in the title, a homier vibe about this one. As well as craft projects they also cover interior design and baking, with a nod to Pinterest. A lot of the imagery in this mag look like they have jumped of the screen from our favourite on-line procrastination destination. Their craft projects are delightfully varied, from crochet to soap making to wood carving, they cover a wide spectrum. Most of the recent issues have come with a Print and pattern portfolio packed with extra projects and pattern pages, as well as features about the designers responsible for them.

Making the classiest of all the craft mags, their projects often use higher end product and techniques and H just loves staring at it.  Full page photographs and always attractively presented projects. Making is a delight to read.  We think the word is aspirational, every time you read this mag you will want to paint everything in your house white and go out and buy a bunch of flowers. Usually accompanied by a supplement of some kind with extra projects on a specific theme taken from and highlighting some great crafting books. It is the magazine equivalent of a coffee table art book, but whilst combining style and substance.

From one end of the spectrum to the other Simply Homemade is gagging for a makeover. It is... 'cute'. Sammy has issues with the term 'homemade' as it has a slightly less professional feel to it's far nicer term Handmade. In-spite of this, Simply Homemade holds its rightful place in this line up.  It is always jam-packed with ideas that are great for new or weekend crafters, people looking to try out new techniques and ideas. Their projects can often be a little garish and their layout is dated in comparison to some of the other mags in this post, we still find it amazing that this is from the same publishers as Crafty, but that doesn't take away from the ideas and projects being great.

Handmade Living another one that's had a recent facelift after first being launched over two years ago. They market it as more of a lifestyle magazine - with some crafts thrown in for fun, it does exactly what it says on the tin. With sections on gardening, cookery and beauty it covers more than just crafts, but in a more 'homely' way that say Making does. It has a softer more gentle approach than some of the others with muted colours and floral borders. We are dying to see their newest sister magazine 'Pretty Patches' due out in the Autumn.

So those are our thoughts on our favourites, what are yours?
Which do you buy? Which do you like? Which don't you like? Are you going to take a look at any of these? Do you subscribe? Have you gone digital?
Tell us what you think...

H and Sammy xxx

Disclaimer: We have NOT been sponsored to write this post by any of these magazines or their publishers. Our opinions are all our own. We genuinely read all of these magazines as well as many others. We have chosen to promote these magazines of our own free choice.

6 Aug 2013

Liam Hemsworth Drawing & Sammy's on Tumblr

I haven't talked about drawing on here for a while and I just finished this one of Liam Hemsworth at the weekend, so I thought it would be a good time to share.

I have been working on this one for the longest time ever, like months, I kept picking it up and putting it down again. I'm still not totally happy with it now, but sometimes I just have to step away for a while, I'm sure when I look at it in a month or so I will really like it. Does that ever happen to you? I sometimes get it when I make clothes or buy them after wish-listing them for ages, I have to not look at them for a while until I rediscover them and love them again, just me?? 

I have also joined Tumblr, just for my drawings. Still not sure if I like it or not, but I wasn't sure about twitter at first (still not entirely sold) so I'm sure it will grow on me.
Are you on Tumblr? I'm trying to find some good people to follow, any suggestions?? 

Back to Liam Hemsworth.  I chose to draw him in particular because of ' The Hunger Games' you may remember I have already done a drawing of Jennifer Lawence back in 2011.  I am so excited for the next movie, I am hoping to seeing more of Liam in this one, I vaguely remember more of Gale in the second book. Our friend Verity (who originally recommended the books to me) sent me a link to the newest trailer for 'Catching Fire' the other day (we geek out over Hunger Games with each other via what's app on a pretty regular basis) It looks awesome. 


I am hoping to take Steve to see 'The Wolverine' at the weekend, we love the X-men films, not to mention a little Hugh Jackman shaped eye candy is always nice. 
What Movies are you looking forward to catching?

Sammy xxx

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