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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