Quick DIY's for Dad

Mini Trophies by andweplay.com // DIY medals by andweplay.com  //  Doughnut cake and topper by ohhappyday.com  //  Kids Wall Art by projectnursery.com         

How cute are these Dad's day treats, any father would be happy to receive these hand-crafted gifts this Sunday. You know we love adding a personal touch to our DIY's and these all have multiple ways to make each one special to your father figure.

These two are my particular favourites though, these cookies are so fun, and you could spell out any word you like, also a great one to do with the kids and let them decorate them. This adorable embroidered letter is just so sweet, a simplified version using your little one's handwriting with a simple 'I love you Dad' would be quicker to stitch up in a hurry but have just as much sentiment.

Rad Dad cookies by tellloveandparty.com  //  Stitched Note by urbancomfort.typepad.com

What do you have planned for the weekend? We are off to spend some quality time with our Dads, hope you get to do the same.

Sammy xxx

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Let's Talk about: Now Blog Conference

Well, hello there! and how are you doing this week?  It has been a bit of a slog over the last few weeks for us with the weather and just time!  Where do the days go I want to know!  I thought that all this extra daylight should help make it feel like there are extra hours in the day, not so much!  

Anyway, that's not really what we are here to talk about, what we wanted to chat about was the NOW Blog Conference coming the way for everyone north of Watford Gap! ha ha.  The Lovely Nicolette from Archie and the Rug and Kimberley from Swoon Worthy with their team of helpers are bringing the wonderful world of blog conferences to all those up North and anyone else who fancies trying out somewhere different to London.

The Venue chosen for the weekend is Victoria Baths in Manchester which is just up the road from the Whitworth Art Gallery - I think I might well find myself there at some point in the weekend!  As if I need any more art gallery in my life! ha ha.  The venue is beautiful, full of Victorian features and green tiles - I do love tiles.   Also, I am super into going to give Manchester all the love after what happened a few weeks ago.

But enough about the interior stuff, what you really want to know is who is going to be speaking!  Well, just this little lot that's who: Sophie Robinson - TV personality & Interior Designer, Emma Chapman and Trey George from A Beautiful Mess - as if you don't know who they are! Igor & Judith from Urban Jungle Bloggers - bloggers and friends who just love plants, Carole Poirot - a Stylist and Photographer and finally but by no means least, Jen Stanbrook - a blogger and Pinterest expert.  Phew!  that should keep us going for a couple of days.

Alongside this, there will be brands to meet, workshops to try out and of course lots of other creative bloggers to chat to.  So a full on Friday to Sunday plan!  Maybe that trip to the Whitworth will have to wait till the Monday!

We are really excited to be going to the event, with our trusty notebooks and planners in hand.  We are also planning to take some secret new things with us, so watch out for announcements on those.  We can't wait to hear what advice and passion we can gleam from other people to enthuse us to make our 6th year of blogging this year into more and more years.

You can pick up tickets for the event over on the NOW Blog Conference Website, which there are still some Early bird tickets left for £90 for the whole weekend! oh yes!

Let us know if you are going to be there, so we can say hello!

H, xxx

Disclaimer: We have been given free tickets to this event and been asked to publisise it, but have not been asked to write anything we do not feel that is true to what we know.  We are really looking forward to this event and will write an honest and open review after the conference.

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New in HandMade May

New in Handmade is back, we had a little break but we are back to fill you in on our fave new releases from our maker friends.  First up is this fun Happy Place Print print by ElistonButton, we love Rachel's colourful prints! May is getting us all a bit wedding happy round here, H always has loads to attend, if you are getting married these awesome Bride to Be Bags by Puptart are a perfect hen party accessory and the latest gorgeous YAY cake topper from Rachel Emma Studio is the epitome of wedding chic. We missed out on seeing the girls from Frilly Industries when they were at Pulse in London recently but we made sure to keep an eye on their shop as we knew something wonderful was coming, we LOVE these Snow Globe Necklaces girls!!

A lot of Father's day cards I have been seeing in the shops lately are really soppy, and I love my Dad and all but sometimes simple is just what you need, we love these Fathers Day cards by DaphneRosa.

I am in the process of re-decorating our Kitchen and I am hunting for new art, so this Botanical letter print by Ingrid Petrie caught my eye and I love this Hello banner by Cotton Clara, a last cheeky selfish purchase that is totally summer ready are these Gin and Lime earrings by Hello Sunshine

Don't forget that Adventures and Tea Parties Instagram challenge starts tomorrow! Even if you don't join in, this challenge will be a feed highlight this month with the challenge based on colour, yum!

That's it for May, don't forget if you are interested in having your new products featured, get in touch. We are headed to Craftacular this weekend so that's our crafty boxes ticked, what about you??

Sammy xxx

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Accidental Dairy Free treats

Something a little different for you today.  Sure we love our crafts but along the way we need to eat and knowing what treats to keep you going are a winner for us.

I was diagnosed with a cows milk protein intolerance about 3 years ago now, which was a shock to the system when I first had to cut out milk, cheddar, yoghurt and biscuits!!!  But, along the way I have found out that there are plenty of alternatives, of course the free from section is an important part of my life in whatever supermarket I find myself in - if a little expensive, but you know what, finding those accidental dairy free items is a bit of a passion of mine too - who knew that finding a bonus food would be a winner with me! ha ha

Now, I am quite lucky that I don't have to worry about gluten too, or that if I was vegan, I would not be able to have most of these things either, so just the cows milk problem for me.

First up, shall we start with the savoury? and lets start with lunch time on-the-go problems.  It can be a nightmare to find something for lunch if you are out and about, but alot of places have items that if you just check the ingredients, are free from dairy.  This Chicken salad sandwich from Sainsburys is a good example.  Pret also have a great allergen guide which you can look up online and lots of lovely symbols next to all their products in store so you can see easily.  These are usually my go to places, if I have not been organised enough to make my own!   Or sometimes when I just want something I know is tasty and is little effort I go for the Maggi instant noodles, way nicer than super noodles and I just love the spicy sweet chilli ones.

Later, when you get home and you can't be bothered to cook a full meal - lazy I know and I never normally advocate ready meals, but sometimes needs must and I know that not everyone enjoys cooking from scratch.  I am normally a beans on toast kinda girl when its a late work night, but just in case you can always pick up a katsu curry from sainsburys which contains no dairy.

But if you have cooked up a storm and just want a little something something to go with it, Sainsburys garlic bread or the Indian snack selection are other winners.  By the way this post is not sponsored by Sainsburys, but it does happen to be my nearest supermarket and has alot of products that happen to be accidentally dairy free.

For a savoury snack to take around your mates for chips and dips night perhaps, you can go for my personal favourite of Barbecue Pringles or try something new like these Manomasa crisps.  Always check the packets though as not all the flavours are dairy free and sometimes they like to change the recipe, we gotta keep an eye out of those recipe lists when dairy free.  Improved recipes are not our friend!

Now, to my favourite part, the sweet snacks!  These are great for taking over to friends, so they don't go all 'I don't like free from food' on you and also to keep you going while crafting, or just because.

Biscuits come first as I always like to have a packet in my cupboard.  I think biscuits being dairy free have sometimes been my most surprising accidental dairy free foods, just like most own brand bourbons and of course the wonderful Oreos are dairy free, even Vegans eat Oreos so it must be ok, plus the mint versions are like eating mint penguin bars, winner!

If you are more of a cake fan, don't worry, I have you covered.  Tesco own brand Cherry Bakewells and Emmas cakes - I found them in Sainsburys, are going to be your saviours!

Lastly, but by no means least, if you want to treat yourself for a weekend breakfast, then you can buy one of the Jus roll products, the cinnamon swirls are a particular fave of mine, but also the Pain au chocolate is dairy free too -  yes really.

These are by no means all of the things that are accidentally dairy free, I am an avid watcher of instagram and blog posts by vegan and free from bloggers who always seem to know what is the next thing.  I have also chosen products which I like, but by no means will they be to everyone's taste.

As someone who has to think about what to eat when out or just wants to not have to make everything from scratch all the time, some of these products really do help.  What's your favourite?  Or do you have something I should try, I would love to know.


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Make it: Embroidered Palm Leaf Trainers

I have seen a bunch of gorgeous embroidered trainers and shoes around this season and you know I love a bit of embroidery. I don't normally wear a lot of floral prints in my wardrobe so I hadn't been able to find a pair that worked well with my everyday outfits. So I found a pair of plain trainers and sorted out some that would. I embroidered this pair of basic trainers with some simple green palm leaves. Here is how you can make some too.

You will need:
White TrainersEmbroidery thread, Needle, Water erase marker pen,
Step 1. Start by removing the laces and giving the trainers a good clean, even if they are new they still may have some dust so use a baby wipe or makeup wipe to clean them off and let them dry.
Step 2. With a water erase pen or a simple pencil mark out a simple pattern of stems and leaves growing from the stems.
Step 3. Using green embroidery thread sew from the inside out, moving the tongue of the shoe out of the way. I have used a combination of variegated thread and three shades of green.
Step 4. Once you have compleated all the embroidery go back in and erase the pen markings and repeat on the second shoe.

That's it, it's that simple. These trainers were a faux leather finish so I used a pair of pliers to help push and pull the needle through some of the tougher parts but apart from that, they were so easy to create. I am totally smitten.

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Live it: Our Handmade Fair Mollie Mash-up Adventure

What a weekend we have just had!  In a flurry of craft related goodness we went up to Warwickshire for The Handmade Fair at Ragley Hall.  This wasn't just a visit to see some of our favourite crafters though, we were up against Fran from Fall for DIY on the Mollie Makes Mash-up stage. eeeeek.  We were also in great company as the Lovely Mr X Stitch had been involved in Fridays Mash-up and Chinelo Bally & Lauren Guthrie from the Sewing Bee were part of Saturdays Mash-up.

The Ragley Hall venue was a first for The Handmade Fair team and so it was smaller than the Hampton Court set-up, but of course our favourite Churros were there, so that is always a bonus.

We got our passes when we first got there and had a little wander around the site, being very restrained and possibly just really nervous!  We knew we would be on stage towards the end of the day and saw that the Super Theatre tent was smaller than we had thought, so our nerves got a little calmer.  We caught up with some crafting friends at the bar and then sat in the lovely sunshine waiting for our time on stage.

Then our time came up!  The lovely Cath from Mollie Makes took us around to the back of the stage to get ready and feel very Madonna with our mics'.  We knew in advance what we would be making on stage a wreath - sorry to spoil the fun and had a sort-of theme in mind, but its not until you are on stage with it all that you realise what you are meant to be doing! ha ha.  The Mash-ups were kindly sponsored by Hobbycraft too, so all the treats.

We went for a very Haberdashery theme, with lace, threads, ribbons and sewing tools.  With two of us doing it though do you think that would have helped or hindered.  Its great being able to craft together but with a 45 min timer going off behind us it was definitely crafting to the clock and not really being able to chat as the lovely Cath was asking us questions along the way.

The Lovely Fran on the other side of the stage was making a paper and gold guided wreath - obviously we didn't see this till later.  Cath was asking us questions about blogging and crafting and we got a few questions from the lovely audience who had stayed till the end of the end.  Then quick as a flash it was all over.  The audience got to vote with their claps and Fran was the well deserved winner - congrats Fran.

It was so much fun to be on stage and with Fran and Cath too, made it very much less scary.  It was great to have the time pressure, but I don't think I would want it all the time, ha ha.

We wanted to say a huge thanks to Fran and Mollie Makes alongside The Handmade fair for letting us have such a fun day.  The next Handmade Fair is at Hampton Court again in September if you fancy going along.

H, xxx

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A day in the life of Sammy

Back in January H shared what a day in her life was like, so now it is my turn to share with you what I get up to in a day. Since we closed our retail shop just over 19 months ago my day to day routine has completely changed. Over the past year, this has become my perfect routine, for now, anyway, this is how it is working for me. This is obviously a normal working day at Sew Crafty HQ and I do have days where this routine is thrown out with meetings and appointments but I, unless something comes up this, is how I spend most of my working week. 

8.30 am: I try to get up at with my alarm and head to the bathroom, have a big glass of water and wash my face. Then I head downstairs to feed the cats and do half an hour on our cross trainer or workout DVD. I have to do exercise in the morning or it doesn't happen.  

9.15 am After that is out of the way, it's in the kitchen for breakfast, usually coffee, homemade granola with coconut milk or eggs on toast. 

9.45 am I head back upstairs and shower, brush my teeth and morning skin care routine.

10 am Next, I get dressed and head to my Craft room/ home office and check emails, If I'm going out I will put on makeup and do my hair, if not I will check out Pinterest, or quickly reply to some emails.

10.15 am Mum will come over and pick me up, and we head to Sew Crafty HQ. I will usually have a cup of tea, work on emails, paperwork, bills, invoicing, taxes etc whilst Mum is packing up orders until lunch time.

1.30-2 pm We head to the kitchen and sort out some food, usually turkey sandwiches, falafel salad, avocado toast or soup (I love soup, homemade if possible) a quick Instagram scroll, a magazine flip or a book chapter later, and it's back to work.

2pm afternoons are usually reserved for sorting out stock, photographing, listing products on the website or photo editing. 

4 pm We usually have a tea break and have a scroll through Pinterest or Mum shows me articles from the paper that she thinks I might like, She is so cute like that.

6 pm After dealing with the last few chores, emails and blog posts Mum and I will head home.

6.30-7pm I will make dinner for Steve and I while we catch up on what has happened that day, sort out the dishwasher, washing and other boring adult stuff oh and feed the cats.

8 pm Free time, Steve (My husband) and I will usually watch a movie or catch up on a tv show we have been watching, that is if the cats are sitting on my lap and I am unable to move! If not I usually head up to my office and work on a blog post or do some sewing.

11.30 pm I head into the bathroom and take off my makeup, brush my teeth then head to bed.

As you can see nothing too spectacular or out of the ordinary, but I love my life now. I am more in control of how I organise my day. I don't feel like I am playing catchup all the time. It is easier to schedule in time for myself and time to spend with My husband. I am still figuring out how to balance everything, but I am on my way to finding my happy place.

Sammy x

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Make it: Business Card Holder

Well hello there and welcome to another tutorial, just a small one today and it was inspired by last weeks National Stationery Week.  Something I have been meaning to do for a long while was to sort out all the business cards I pick up at all the craft fairs we go to.  I love to be able to go through the cards when looking for designers/makers to talk to for the blog and of course for present inspiration for my friends and family.

So, why not show you what I have done in the simplest of forms, so that you can make your own version at home or at work.

You will need:  Card (I went for green pastel so that it stands out a bit more against most of the white cards), Pencil, Thick Pen (I used a calligraphy pen to make them stand out), Scapel or scissors, ruler and a container/box - mine was from Muji.

The first step I did was to decide how big I wanted my index cards to be.  I was originally thinking that they could be just as long as the business cards themselves, but then decided as to not waste card, I could just divide up the A4 card into 70x70mm sized pieces, so that I could get 12 cards out of one A4 sheet.

I knew that I wanted to have the index tab sitting up and so I made a template that was 70x60mm with pencil marks at every roughly 12mm, so that I could work out how big my tabs were going to be.  I used the template to make a 10mm tall tab on each of the cards.

Then on each of the index cards I marked where I wanted the tab to sit on each card.  Making sure that each letter was staggered from the next one.

I managed to mark 6 tabs and so I made sure I made 4 of each with the same tab placement to make 24 cards, as I knew I wanted to put 'XYZ' on one tab.

Then, using my Calligraphy pen, I added the letters to each of the tabs - handwriting is not my forte, so you'll have to forgive me, something to work on.  Of course the fun part of making sure all of my cards are in order was next to put them all in the box.  You could always make your own box out of cereal box and then cover it if you want, but I already had this box from where I used to dump the business cards in before.

I hope you enjoyed this little quick DIY.  We are back on form - hopefully, from now on so thank you to those for bearing with us.

Do let us know if there are any tutorials you would like us to make, we have plenty of new ideas, thank god, but its always good to know if you guys want something in particular we can help you to make.


P.S. see if you can spot the little error on my calendar - oops!

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Live it: H's Hong Kong Adventure

Well hello there!  It's been a couple of weeks since I mentioned my creative crisis and mentioned I was going on holiday.  For those who know me in real life, I have been away for a couple of weeks to Hong Kong!  You know, just the average destination! ha ha.

A little bit of creative crisis

Hey all, long time.  You may have noticed a small silence on here of late, sorry about that.  With Sammy very busy with Sewing Quarter TV and me busy at The Lightbox, there has been a little less productivity of late.

But something which has also hit me hard is some confidence in my own creativity.  Working everyday making for the workshops I deliver for the adults and children means that I have lots of ideas running around in my head, but for some reason, the execution just doesn't seem to be following.

I have been painting, making and creating over the last few months at work and things just don't seem to come out how I imagine them.  My imagination is way better than my abilities perhaps.  There really is nothing worse as someone who has always been creative, than to find out that its all not just working out the way that you want.  I have even attempted to make several things over the last few months which I have done just because, so that I could take the pressure off perhaps - nope that didn't work.

Now this is not a pity party and I am definitely not looking for any compliments, I just wanted to write down how I feel and so if someone else out there is thinking the same, then there is also me who hears you!  Now, I know that there are lots of people out there who are much better at making then me and also those who struggle to get any creative thoughts and so I guess I should be happy that I am still having the ideas.  I think that the execution part is always something I have struggled with, even at uni, the lovely Sammy made a couple of my model pieces for my final work - as I couldn't quite get them right.

Or maybe it is just more down to the materials I am using, I seem to be ok at papercutting, but even a submission rejection resulted in me spiraling even more down the 'I can't make anything, hole'. Most Paper based creativity seems to be ok.  But the sewing part is a struggle, simple things are fine, I can make a Christmas stocking or travel wallet fine, but as the last few weeks prove, a animal shape I cannot do.

Then there is also the fact that some days you just can't make anything, nothing goes right.  Then other days, you are hitting it out of the park when it comes to making.  I do love to experiment and try new things and I am lucky that due to my day job I can paint, create with clay or junk modelling, use pastels or draw at least once a week.  But sometimes its frustrating when you have to make something and it doesn't go right and then I have to show that to children or adults as a sample - when really I just want to throw it away.  Nothing like having to show something you are not happy with to really hit home how much you hate it.

So, after all that lovely ramble of getting my thoughts out there, how do you cope when it doesn't go right?  or you just can't seem to make it look how you want?  I am sure I am not alone, but being surrounded by beautifully creative people all the time, sometimes makes you feel that you might be the only one not getting it.


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New in Handmade February

So for our second instalment of New in Handmade we are sharing a three new treats for the month for you.  Just what you wanted to close to payday, right??!

Valentines DIY's to try

OK, ok so we might be a little late to the party, but if you happen to be at home today or have an hour before your partner gets home, we have put together a few of our quick and simple DIY's from our blog history for you.

A day in the life at The Lightbox

Hello there, so as we are in January - just and we are all about the new, we thought that we would share another new feature we are doing on the blog for this year.  Telling you a little bit about our other day job lives that you maybe don't see the rest of the time.

New In Handmade January 2017

We are launching a brand new monthly feature for you this year, we will be bringing you the best new handmade products from our fave makers every month. Hopefully, it will become a place you can come and find all the best newness from all over the maker community in one, link-filled post of joy.

Sew Crafty Sub Club 2017 with GillyMac Design

I don't normally share everything going on over in my online store Sew Crafty here on the blog but we are starting a fun new project that I thought might be of interest to our readers here so on this occasion I thought it made sense to let you guys in at the beginning. 

Introducing a brand new venture for Sew Crafty, in association with the fantastic GillyMac Designs

Make it: Disney inspired Mouse Ears

Our first tutorial of 2017 and its a nice simple one to get you back into the swing of things.  It also is inspired by all the Disney adventures I saw over the last few months of 2016.  Clearly Disney is still the place to go and so why not make your own ears, for your own adventures or even just to wear around the house!

Live it: Places and Spaces - The Design Museum

Something a little bit different for you today.  I wanted to share some places and spaces that either mean something to me, inspire me or relax me, so that maybe they might do the same for you, or we can share spaces and see what makes us more us.

The Design Museum has always been a favourite of mine and when the opportunity to work in collaboration with them for my Masters came up over ten years ago, I jumped at it.  It has just moved from its Shad Thames roots to its new home at the old Commonwealth building in High Street Kensington.  This had always been a favourite building of mine, since when I used to get the number 9 bus passed it when I used to live in Hammersmith.  I am so glad that the building is in use again and even better that it now houses one of my favourite museums.

When you walk in, it certainly makes you look up!  There is so much space!  Lots of open walkways and seating for visitors to sit up and stare.  Which is what I did!  There are some paying exhibition spaces and a free space that takes you through the story of design. Some people think that design is not something that they are a part of, think about or that includes them, but as the Design Museum says itself 'Design is everywhere and continues to transform the lives of everyone around the world through the partnership between the designer, the maker and the user'.

From your bed you woke up in, to your bowl you had cereal in and the car you went to work in this morning, everything incorporates design.  Without it, nothing would be the way it is, whether ergonomically designed for comfort, or aesthetically pleasing for fun.

The beauty of the building itself really does make the most of the design in it though.  It sets the scene and makes you feel comfortable.  As a museum and gallery goer/worker I feel my most comfortable in these spaces, but the Design Museum certainly lends itself to feeling relaxed and thoughtful.  I could happily spend an hour or two sitting on the benches looking around and people watching.

Is there a favourite Museum or Gallery that you guys like?  Anywhere that always gives you inspiration?


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Planners to try for 2017


We are back!  A nice long break for us, which included lots of family time and both of us getting ill!  So that's always nice, hence the slightly longer absence from you guys!

How are you?  Did you have lots of fun and enjoy eating your way through the fridge?