Live it: RA Summer Exhibition 2012

Photo courtesy of
For me, Summer in London is all about the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy and so as I will soon be moving away from the city, I thought it only fair that I went to the show again. This is my 5th year going and every year brings something different and this time I went with my mum, which was fun as I usually go on my own.

This year however disappointed me a little and impressed me at the same time - so that's probably what they were going for. Unfortunately you are not able to take photos and so I cannot show you some of my favourite parts, but I can talk about them and link you to my No. 1 item to look at in the show.

My favourite parts of the show are usually the architecture models and the photography gallery - which this year they have split the photos up into the gallery spaces along with the paintings.  I prefer my photography all together and the most impressive photography part was on the back wall, you know the one, just where you exit for the shop, there is a wall dividing the gallery from the shop doors, some of the best photographs were on the back of that!  Well placed for people to ignore them, and I must say 3 Quentin Blake sketches were here too!  One of the best illustrators we have to offer and that's where they put him!  I seem to remember he got that place last year too, so maybe he likes it there!  

The architecture models did not did not disappoint, the detail and precision from carving a building from the pages of a book through to etched metal fully scaled detail!  Amazing.  I think this is usually one of the places that most of the purist RA visitors find the least interesting as I am usually one of the only ones in the room.  The sketches on the wall would have put my lecturers at Design college and University to shame and I can only say that if I had given my tutors sketches like them, they would have failed me.  Just goes to show how subjective design is and what really counts as talent in the real world.

I also liked the fact that they had moved the artwork that usually resides in one of the the tiny rooms to room III (the largest room) which means you can actually see all the artwork on the walls, instead of trying to look at work which is 8ft high on the wall and which is so small that you can just about see the colour it is, let alone what it is and the number, to at least help you discover what it is.

For the amount of years I have been going, I think this has to be one of my least favourite shows and maybe that's just because it does not indulge in my particular passions!  But I did, as always like David Mach's work and they had plenty of John Hoyland work for me to look at - which after a trip to the Tate St Ives in 2006, he has been a particular favourite of mine.

My top thing to check out when you go though is no.1132, the Hawkins/Brown model called 'Ferias Diversorio' in room VI, just look at the picture!  Its amazing, made out of sewing bits and pieces, from bobbins and spools, with little people added on for that extra cute factor!

Picture courtesy of:
So all in all, something for everything and despite my outlook its definitely worth a look, as it will show you what people think of art and for all your artists out there, show you that you really should apply next year as you really could be the next artist in the Summer Exhibition.

Live it!

Make it: Future Vintage

Today it's the turn of Future Vintage to take centre stage as we announce our customising competition in conjunction with Sew Crafty Sewing Centre and Fashion Design workshops.

(this competition is limited to those who attend schools within Windsor and Maidenhead at this time)

Future Vintage Fashion Design Competition


in Windsor & Maidenhead

'Live it Vintage' are looking for 11-16 year olds to show off their
design skills and transform a plain white T-shirt into a piece of  'Future Vintage' couture!

All entrants must first submit their design, and the chosen top ten
will then get the chance to make their Future Vintage. The finalists
will then have their T-shirts modelled in a fashion show at this summers ‘Live it Vintage’ on Saturday 4th August, where the winner will be announced
The winning design will receive a host of goodies including a £50

Sew Crafty Voucher and a luxury designer's art pack from Boville's Art Shop.

Entrants need to pop into Sew Crafty or Boville's Art Shop to pick up an entry form.
Or visit to download a copy.

Designs must be handed in by the 20th July, the finalist will be announced on the 23rd July, and given their t-shirts to take and customise ready for the fashion show on the 4th  August.

Design not really your thing? 'Live it Vintage' are also looking for
models for their fashion show. You need to be 11-16 and available on the 4th August. To sign up, bring a photo with contact details attached into Boville's or Sew Crafty before 20th July.


Make it
Sammy xxx

Live it Vintage

We are super excited here at Live it. Love it. Make it HQ this week, we have some very fun announcements to make! Here goes number one!
Some of you will know already, but today we officially announced 'Live it Vintage' to the press,  so now we want to officially announce it to you, our lovely blog followers.

Live it Events is a non-profit organisation, which put on events to help communities grow. We want to help local companies and organisations get exposure to their local community, whilst having loads of fun! Due to the Olympics last being held in the UK in 1948 and the Queen’s coronation in 1952 we find ourselves in a celebratory mood and one that brings out our Vintage side. Maidenhead is a busy town this summer, not only is the lovely Dorney Lake one of the Olympic sites for Rowing, Kayak and Paralympic Rowing events; Kidwell’s Park is also hosting a Live Site for everyone without those special tickets to come and take in the Olympic games on home-turf. With all these extra people in town to cater for and the chance to show off the Town’s talent, the idea of celebrating this once-in-a-lifetime event was born.
The Live it. Love it. Make it girls, Thumbelina Design and Penny Farthing decided - with a little help from our Town Centre friends - we would get together to bring ‘Live it Vintage’ to Maidenhead. 

Live it Vintage is all about bringing vintage style to the residents and visitors of our High Street.
On Saturday 4th August all manner of Vintage traders and activities will take centre stage in Maidenhead Town centre for ‘Live it Vintage’ from 10am through to 5pm. It will take the form of a market spread through the town centre and the Nicholson’s Centre with entertainers, make-up artists and Vintage Vehicles all taking part. You can have your hair done in a Vintage hair roll, listen to some retro music or just take a wander around the various stalls to see what goodies you can take home with you. The Wayward Sisters will bring their ‘Vintage red lips and victory rolls with milk and honey harmonies’ to the event and Kav Kavanagh’s Royal Rockers will have you Jiving down the High Street.
Don’t just believe us when we say it’s going to be amazing, the Town Centre manager for Maidenhead, Steph James says “Maidenhead is going to have a real buzz over the summer with a packed programme of events to celebrate Jubilee and Olympics. The local creative community in Maidenhead has been getting behind the town and putting together a fantastic array of events for the High Street bringing arts, crafts, fashion and entertainment to the town”
Here’s what one of our organisers Samantha Claridge has to say about the event “ Maidenhead is my town, I have grown up here, I live here, I own my business (Sew Crafty) here, I want Maidenhead to be a great place for people to come and enjoy. Vintage seemed a logical choice, with the town already boasting its own Art Market and Craft Pop up Events. Live it Vintage is not just a Vintage Fair, it will offer fun and entertainment for all ages”

If you would like to get involved or want more information then please do get in touch at
Or check out our Weebly site

We have also have an event page on Facebook. Feel free to drop by.

Live it
Sammy and H

Live t. Love it. Make it. 1 year old today Birthday *Giveaway* (CLOSED)

So as the title suggests our blog is 1 today!  Happy Birthday us.

We actually started thinking about and procrastinating over the Blog a while before we finally did it, but our first post was on the 21st June 2011!  My has it gone quickly!

We have learnt alot and met some fantastic people though this time and hope that we will continue to do so.  Being part of a craft community whether online or dare I say 'in the real world' has been an amazing experience for us both and long may it continue.  We want to explore this world of ours so much more and hope to get some more trips in the diary so that we can tell you all about what we are up to - any excuse hey!

What started off a year ago with talking about what we were up to and things we made at home has turned into; being part of a local group 'The Craft Coop'; taking on the planning of our first ever 'Live it Vintage' event - thanks to H's event experience and Sam's enthusiasm and love of her town Maidenhead, along with some great Maidonians also; running workshops from Bunting and mobile phone cases, to hand puppets with Little Pickles; and finally by no means least, letting all you lovely people learn how to make things yourself with online tutorials or our ready to go kits!

So to celebrate, we have a little Competition for you, the prizes are
1st Prize - All 5 kits from our collection
2nd Prize - 2 Kits of your choice from our collection
3rd Prize - 1 Kit of your choice from our collection
(Kits include: Sewing Machine Cover, Mobile Phone Case, Personalised Bunting, Rosette, Shopper Bag)

All you have to do is tell us what you would love to learn how to make, so just finish the sentence below:

I would like to learn how to make ...

Send in your answers to by Friday 13th July 2012.
We will then pick the best 3 to win the prizes, simple hey.
The best part is that we will then make the top three into tutorials for the blog and hey if we get loads of lovely ones, we may just keep on putting them up.

What's next for us includes finally getting our acts in gear to get some of our handmade items online and then hopefully - with the help of some talented friends - getting our own website up and running.

So please do keep reading, and chatting to us.  We love to hear about your projects, get your responses to things we have written or be nosey into your lives - look out for a craft space series of posts soon!

and if you want to get in touch or would love to write us a post, please do get in touch through the blog, on our facebook page or even on our email:

Bye for now, we are off to eat our body weight in cake!  Well what are birthday's for??!!

Sammy & H
Live it.  Love it.  Make it

Who's Who: Thumbelina Design

This week was all about catching up with Anna Alcock from Thumbelina Design.  We met her through the Craft Coop and love her pretty and intricate designs for the Bride who really wants to be original on her one special day.  

What is Thumbelina Design?
I design and make gowns and accessories for flower girls, Brides, bridesmaids and special occasions. I have always been fascinated by history and it's effect on fashion through the eras, from Edwardian and Victorian thruogh to more "modern day looks" of the 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s. My designs are hugely inspired by these eras and also my love of all things Indian.  I also happen to be a total magpie when it comes to anything sparkly or jewel like. Even from being a little girl I was a massive fan of lace, unless of course it was those scratchy lace tights or cuffs on my pretty dresses - just ready to ruin a good day out!

Tell us more about your background
I trained in fashion and theatre costume to degree level and since graduating I have worked as a designer for the high street on multi product but mainly on knitwear. My jobs have taken me to some exotic and far flung parts of the world which has inspired and amazed me. Experiencing the glamour of Hong Kong, L.A and New York to factory visits to China and Bangladesh where I once had to travel by ambulance to a factory to avoid political unrest and riots.  Witnessing my designs being made in volume on a factory floor is amongst one of my proudest moments.

How did Thumbelina Design Start?
Thumbelina Design was born in February 2011 from a desire to pursue my own dream and offer something unique to the Bridal market.  I started hearing from my friends who were getting married how "samey" bridal and bridesmaid dresses are, how the colours are sickly, fabric cheap and price expensive!  And so Thumbelina was born.  From my experience in the fashion industry, I knew how important quality and customer service were, especially at the very stressful time of planning a wedding. When you are spending a lot of money on something, you want to feel the service is personal and styling unique. Thumbelina Design is a bespoke service from the design stage right through to your finished gown and accessories. We offer you styling advice, tips on colour, silhouette and coordinating your own unique style with the theme of the wedding.

Where can you find Thumbelina Design?
Their services are promoted through our website, Facebook page and advertising in a couple of publications.  I take part in wedding fairs that suit the style of my brand, such as The Most Curious Wedding Fair and also local craft fairs through the craft coop where the accessories have gone down a storm!

What’s next for Thumbelina Design?
In the year and a bit since Thumbelina has been established our organic growth and customer demand has lead to a number of doors opening and exciting opportunities are on the horizon.
Over the next couple of months, We will be adding additional services to our portfolio and further workshops aside from the 'Maid-to-measure' workshop service we currently offer.

Maid to measure workshops are a chance for the bride and her maids to gather with me, my mood boards, fabrics, swatches and tons of inspiration to design their own gown or accessories.
The future is looking very bright for Thumbelina Design and within the next year we will also be launching a wedding gown collection, 'Thumbelina Bride'.

Catch Thumbelina Design at The Wedding Fayre at Taplow House Hotel
in conjunction with Berkshire Wedding Fairs
Thursday 21st June 2012
5.00pm – 9.00pm

Everything really does seem to be taking off for Anna! We are sending all our Brides your way! 

Live it

Make it: Kits

We have been busy bees this last week down at the Craft Coop shop in Maidenhead and we wanted to shout about our wonderful kits that are available in the shop until it closes on the 24th June - check out the lovely picture above, don't they look good in a vintage suitcase!  So be quick and pick up a kit to try your hand at something new.  And if you want to send us a picture once you have done it we would love to see your work!

So back to this last week, we had our Bunting workshop on Friday which was a hive of activity due to children being on half term and so there were fabrics chosen, sewing learnt and letters cut to make all 8 of our particpants their own name bunting to take home with them.

Then on Sunday, we linked up with Little Pickles for a Hand Puppet workshop where we made Batman, Pirates, Four arms from Ben 10 and an Octopus.  Phew! 

We thought it only fair to let you know that our kits are still available at the Craft Coop shop, meaning that you can take home your own little piece of Live it.  Love it.  Make it.  You can have a go at making something really unique in the comfort of your own home and have the choice of:

Name Bunting
Sewing Machine Cover
Mobile Phone Case
Shopper Bag
Oh yes, and we have Fabric Bundles too
Don't forget this Friday we are doing the Mobile phone case workshops, from 1-4pm and on Friday 22nd June we will be doing our final session and it will be to help you with your Maidenhead quilt squares from 11am -5pm.

So for now, we are back to the day jobs, but hope that you will pick up a little bit of us at the shop.  This week also promises to have a new cafe as part of the shop.  So we are both looking forward to having some cake with our workshop on Friday!  It just wasn't the same without it last week.

Make it

Who's Who: Make Do Menders

This week we had a chat with Bee from Make Do Menders who put on classes in London and the South East.

What is the Make Do Menders?
Claire and I worked together and felt that our combined talents in craft and teaching would work well in a dedicated business with a twist.  We loved the idea of workshops taking place in lovely venues around London and the South-East and helping people to organise their own special crafty events.

How did the idea of Make Do Menders start?
The plan at the beginning was to organise craft classes in a couple of venues that had expressed an interest in that sort of thing - knitting and crochet mainly.  The ‘Tea Rooms’ in Stoke Newington and the pop-up shop started by the girls at ‘Drink Shop & Do’ were our first venues.  We quickly realised that there was also a market for parties, hen and other types, playing to our strengths in sewing with corsage-making, quilt and bunting making as well as cupcake decorating courtesy of the wonderful Kate Jarritt.  It was also important that we were happy to travel to people's own venues and this opened up the market considerably for us.  At first the bookings were maybe once in a while but gradually, just through our web presence, we built on this to pretty much a booking every weekend and sometimes 2 or 3!!  Now the parties have come centre stage and the classes are more a winter/spring treat.  We have a fantastic following of fellow crafty types who book in for a crochet top-up every so often and we have been interviewing new tutors who will be offering quite a different skill to the mix – so look out for those!

Who makes up Make Do Menders? 
It’s mainly me (Bee) I run the operation, with the input of Claire and many other talented craft and baking experts along the way!

Where can we find You?
We are now getting lots of bookings outside London in client's own venues but they also use various lovely venues in the capital, including Drink Shop & Do in Kings Cross and the Tea Rooms in Stoke Newington. You can keep up with all our adventures on our website too! 

It’s nice to see someone doing workshops in more than one space and mixing it up a bit, going to the people rather than getting the people to them.  It’s also great to see that crafty parties are on the up and this has taken off for them more due to the change of venues they are able to go to.  I love that this enables Bee and her colleagues to have some treat crafty nights along the way!

Now, what to choose! party or class?

Live it!