Live it: H's blue mad life

That's it, January is soon to be over! But wait this is not one of those beat the blues posts, this is all about my obsession with the colour blue!

As you may know by now I do love the colour blue, so much in fact that I have been known to buy notebooks, boxes or even seem rippers in the colour blue rather than any other colour.  Even saying 'oh well if it was in blue I would have it'.  I just love it as it makes me happy, there are lots of versions of it and as a very pale and blonde girl, it suits me.  So all round a good colour for me.

I am trying to move on, I buy green and purple things now too, but apparently that doesn't count as they are from the same side of the spectrum! Humph

So I thought it would be nice to show off some of my Blue to get everyone out of those January Blues and into well, just February!  I guess it would be red February with Valentines day and everything, but it just doesn't seem the same and anyway back to the blue.

So, first up is the flower you can see at the top of this post.  It was given to me by a friend way back at University as she knew how much I loved blue.  If that isn't special I don't know what is.  Throughout the different houses and different towns I have lived in since then, it has always come with me to cheer me up, so that really sums up the cheering up from the January blues hey!

Next is a new thing in my life, dresses!  It has been a few years now, but I still find it amazing that I wear them.  Even some of my friends who I don't see as often, still get a shock!  I used to be the girl ' most likely to me wearing jeans and trainers' and then I moved to London, lost a bit of weight and realised that no one cares if I wear a dress or not, its just ME who feels like they do!  So these are a couple of my current favourites.  The first one is from a shop in London which became one of my favourites, Joy.  Then the second dress is from a lovely shop in Reading called Frock & Roll which has been a recent purchase and I just had to have it after seeing it on their Facebook page!

Then of course I have to have a bag to match and a bit of green got in here!  It was a total bargain from Primark and just manages to get enough in it for a night away - I am the queen of packing the smallest amount I need, just so I don't have to carry much!  I love that its a bowling bag, but it also has a big old over the shoulder strap for free hands.

and of course, just like I was talking about it above, I have a pen that looks like a pencil, this was picked up in the shop at my work, The Lightbox.  I thought that it was such a cool idea and as a creative person, it was the best present I could give myself and so I had to have it in Blue!

One more thing before I go is that even my duvet covers have to have blue, all of them have blue in them, this one is the only one that has other colours in it! 

I get the feeling after seeing all these things that I do need to buy other colours, but it does help me with shopping as I can focus on colour and shape rather than all the colours and shapes.  That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it I guess!  I hope you have enjoyed a little bit of my blue mad life and it has cheered you up if you have the blues.  What's your favourite colour?  Does it make you happy?  Comment below and I can find out if I am the only mad one out there!

Love it

Love it: Our Childhood Storybooks

This week is National Storytelling week and as the website tells us: Storytelling can be found enriching lives everywhere: from nurseries to schools, from bereavement aids in hospitals to strengthening communication in the business sphere, from reminiscence centres to support groups for those with special needs, and in theatrical performances.  The sharing between teller and listener empowers, feeding the imagination from one generation to the next.

Fabric Designers : Lotta Jansdotter

I have a new fabric designer crush! If you haven't heard of Lotta Jandotter Get over to her site now! 
As I was ordering fabrics last week my sales rep showed me Lotta's new collection and I was smitten. I instantly ordered all I could afford from her collection, due to arrive with us in early April, and jumped on the computer to check out her website.
''Lotta’s products are functional and practical, her projects approachable and easy. Making life better is the result. Lotta’s aesthetic is deeply rooted in the Scandinavian landscape. She was born 1971 on Åland, a small group of islands in the archipelago between Sweden and Finland. Her Swedish heritage is also apparent in her pragmatic and self-sufficient approach to design. Can’t find what you want? Make it! Don’t know how? Learn it!''

As well as fabric, this fabulous designer also produces a range of Melamine products, Candles, Stationary, bags and cushions.
Now residing in a studio/store in New York, where she also holds print workshops, this is a girl after my own heart, her designs and colour schemes are right up my street, and I can't wait to get my hands on these fabrics!

Do you have a designer crush, I know H is a massive fan of Orla Kiely, we like patterns around here.

Sammy xxx

Sew Crafty Review from Mrs M Makes

My Little shop had a lovely review on Mrs M Makes blog yesterday, She love our fabric scraps! 
pop by and take a look at her blog and follow her crafty adventures!
Her most recent post shows Mrs M using one of our lovely poly cotton print to make a top in her sewing class.

Thank you Mrs M

Sammy xxx

Link for the week: Stone Creatures via Hello Lidi

This week I found a little DIY that shows what can be done with pebbles of all things!  

I have a bit of a passion for making little creatures of all sorts and more about them soon I promise, and so when I saw this post,  about creating stone creatures I just had to share it.

They are so simple, all you need are some stones and a sharpie pen and a little imagination.  They are so very sweet and I think they would make a great creature family present idea.  

Hmmm, now who can I make that for ..........

Make it

Friday Favourites: New Colour Trends

I love Spring colour combinations, and I have seen some lovely ones floating around the web this week. Here are my favourites, some to add to your wish list and some to add to your DIY list too.
Get your crochet hook out  and make yourself a chunky knit scarf in one of my fave shades, Mustard.
An old sweatshirt or tired looking jumper could be jazzed up with a can of neon spray and some masking tape to get an effect like the H&M jumper at no4. and a simple packet of dye could transform an old pair of white jeans to a great summer shade of mint like these ones at No9

What is your fave colour combination right now?
Sammy x

Love it: Matilda the Musical

Last week I was lucky enough to get a ticket (via my very lovely sister-in-law's school) for Matilda at the theatre.  Now firstly a few things that you need to know about me is that I LOVE going to the theatre and I LOVED Matilda the book by Roald Dahl and I LOVED the 1996 film with Danny DeVito as Mr Wormwood and Pam Ferris as the very scary Trunchball!  So really, this was always going to be good!

And also what you might not already know about the Stage version is that the song lyrics have been written by Tim Minchin, which is also a big favourite of mine and in my opinion is a great match for Roald Dahl's story.  I have been meaning to see it for ages and as you might remember it was on my Christmas Wants list, so this was a very very early Birthday Present from my sister-in-law and Brother (my birthday is in April!)

So, after a brisk walk from Waterloo to Covent Garden I arrived at the Cambridge Theatre very excited to be going to finally see the show!  I was literally like a kid in a candy store, so easily pleased!

The stage surround was a mark of what was to become, with its building blocks and Matilda Light box letters intriguing the audience!  The show was BRILLIANT and had the right mix of humour for children and adults.  There were alot of child actors and one can hope they are just as cool in real life as in the show.   

The basic storyline of Matilda for those who don't know, is a girl grows up in a family that don't really want her.  She loves books, they love TV; she loves learning, they think she's stupid.  They send her to a school with a mean headmistress and Matilda finds she has powers to move things with her mind to scare and help people and helps her lovely teacher to claim her rightful home from the mean headmistress after a bit of fun along the way!

Lots of stage movement with chairs and tables popping up from the floor and shelves coming in from the wings meant that the show was fast paced and fun filled.  Just the way I like it.  I used to work in a theatre and my degree gave me the opportunity to design stage sets and so how the stage design fits the storyline is very interesting for me.

My favourite song of the whole show was the song they sang on the first day of school which you can hear here.  It was really clever how they sang the whole alphabet and what you can't see in the clip is how they moved around on a big set of gates to the song to push through building blocks with the letters on them so that the whole alphabet was shown on the gates.

After an interval Ice cream, entertainment from Mr Wormwood and the rest of the show, it was over!  There were standing ovations and happy faces.  I bought myself a mug on the way out which I thought work might appreciate, given that I work with children most of the time!  What do you think?

What's your favourite Musical and why?  There are only a few musicals that I would go to again and again and Matilda and The Lion King I think would be my two!

Then it was once again a brisk walk back to the station, luckily there was no snow!  One of the things I miss about not being in London is being able to walk about at night and seeing it all lit up.  So I thought a few photos might be nice.  You can even see St Paul's cathedral in the second one all lit up, so pretty.  Considering that during the day London can be so busy and sometimes look pretty dirty, night-time London just can't be beaten.

Loving It

Live it: Owning My Own business

I have always wanted to work for myself, to have my own business. I was brought up to want that for myself, my Dad was quite insistent that it was something I should strive for, whatever industry I chose to go into, the goal was always to be independent.

So now that I do, I have my own business, It's lovely... right... 

Yes, yes it is really Awesome. However it is by no means the easy path. Running your own business is just that, the buck ultimately stops with you, and only you. You are responsible for every aspect of that business, delegation is a great tool, but it is just that, a tool to be used wisely. I am really lucky, I run my business with my parents, they are so supportive and with me every step of the way. I have learnt so much from both of them, and from my experiences with Sew Crafty. The biggest thing I have learned is that I LOVE my job, despite it being challenging and a lot of hard work, I really couldn't picture myself doing anything else right now.

There are so many things I love about what I do...

I work in an industry that I adore... I have never known an industry like it, the Haberdashery/craft/sewing world is just so amazing. I have met so many lovely people over the years, customers, sales reps, advertising reps, editors and other business owners that I am so proud to call my friends.

I work with my family.... Working with my Mum every day and with my Dad on the behind the scenes stuff makes me so happy, I am lucky to have a really great relationship with my parents, I am so grateful to them for trusting in me and pushing me to achieve.

I get to create... all day, everyday and I get to play with pretty things, I never knew when I was studying at school that a 'job' would be so much fun.

Inspired... I am surrounded by inspiration everyday, sometimes it can be a new catalogue from a supplier, or a customer who comes in with a challenge for us to help them with. 

Exceeding expectations... my least favourite common phrase of the last ten years is 'you don't sell .........., do you? I would like to ban the use of this negative question.  However it is so lovely when I get to say ' yes we absolutely do' seeing the smile on the previously dubious face is one that cannot be compared.

Helping people... I always thought that this would be the part where I came unstuck, I have never felt confident in a teaching role, but as it turns out, I am pretty good at it. It doesn't always involve a 'class room' situation, sometimes it is as simple as giving an opinion on which buttons I like best on a customers garment. Sometimes all the help people need is a second opinion. Helping customers to realise their vision is one of the happiest parts of my job.

Happy customers... not every customer is happy, some are challenging, as in all areas of retail, but we are so lucky to have so many happy customers. They make me smile on a daily basis

Rising to the challenge... We have a lot of customers who throw us a 'Challenge' whether it's matching a button, or a ribbon colour, or a product they don't expect to find with us. Everyday I am put to the test, sometimes it means sending the to a place we know that may have what they need, but most of the time we get to surprise them by having what they need.

Like any job there are pros and cons, I am grateful everyday that my job is mostly fun, happy and ultimately rewarding.

Do you love your job? do you own your own business?
Try making a list of the things you love about it.  On those hard days take a look at it and remember why it's worth it. You won't regret it.

Sammy xxx

Link for the week: Easy Printing from A Beautiful Mess

This week's link is about making your own little print to make some personalised stationary from A Beautiful Mess. I think you could just as well make the print from a rubber rather than necessarily buying the speedy carve that they suggest (although I do use it and it's brilliant!).  It keeps the costs down and helps you to have a play around without spending too much money.

Printing has become one of my most favourite things to do and making prints from all sorts of items is one of the great things about it. When your little you use potato prints and you can also use vegetables to make patterns.  I have even used bottles and toys to make printed patterns, so give some of these a try and see what you can print up.

Send us a picture or comment below with something you have had a go at.

Love it: Golden Globes Red Carpet 2013

   10. Haden Panettiere wearing Roberto Cavalli

9. Amanda Seyfried wearing Givenchy

Last Sunday saw the first of the Big awards shows of the season, the 70th Golden Globes, take place at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in the U.S. 
As you know I Love a good Red Carpet Fashion show!  
Here are my top ten of the frocks.
Two gorgeous examples of beautiful seam-work around the waist lines on both Haden and Amanda's nude gowns, pulling the eye towards their waists and giving them both an enviable hour glass look.

 8. Julianne Hough wearing Monique Lhullier  

7. Isla Fisher wearing Reem Acra

I love a dress with a little Drama, and this has it, with a look reminsant of D&G with a little McQueen thown in its not a wonder I LOVE this white tulle fest. Isla's dress is a stunning coulomb of glittering gems, I like that the rectangular crystal detailing floats up in to the nude mesh shoulder sections.

The Ladies in Red
6. Jennifer Lawrence wearing Dior  

5. Claire Danes wearing Versace

J'adore Jennifer! I would have said this dress was verging on Coral, and that gold metal belt Gorgeous. Claire Danes was a style crush for me in the 90's {any one remember a little show 'My So Called Life'}with her red hair and grunge styling, well She still is, she looks amazing in this halter wrap dress.

4. Zooey Deschanel wearing Oscar de la Renta

I'm still not used to seeing the kooky Zooey in full length gowns, she looks so good in her signature 50's styling I would have taken a foot of the bottom of this dress, it's a little bottom heavy for her frame.

the Midrift girls
3. Halle Berry wearing Atelier Versace     

2.  Emily Blunt wearing Michael Kors

I adore the colours and the print on Halle's Versace gown, if anyne can pull of a print on the red carpet its her. Emily  looks amazing in this gold lace gown, with a little flash of flesh to keep it sexy.

My Personal Favourite
1. Jessica Alba wearing Oscar de la Renta

The colour, the cut, the jewels, the hair perfection... 
Just not 100% on the furry tangerine clutch Miss Alba!

I can't wait to see what the Oscars Red carpet has in store for us this year.
Which one is your favourite?

Sammy xxx

Friday Favourite: Staircase Art

This week, like we all do in January I'm sure, I have been looking for home inspiration. Whilst surfing on Pinterest I came across a great selection of staircase art, our stairs are boring and covered in beige carpet, this has given me some ideas to run past the Hubby! 
Some of these beauties are so colourful and very creative. 

1.(above) I love the soft colour pallet used in this one and the free hand painting style

2. This mosaic staircase reminds me of Gaudi one of my favourite Architects

3. So bright and colourful

4. This one is so cute, I love the little phrases on each of the risers

5. If I was more of a book worm, these would be great

Are you planning any home renovations this year? 
Loving it 
Sammy xxx

Love it: Books, books everywhere!

Whilst over at my parents during the Christmas and New Year break I got a big reminder about our family hobby...  books!

I have so many books that I cannot fit them all in my current house and they are mostly languishing in a tall bookcase at my folks place.  I have a few with me, but they seem to grow so easily that soon they will take over all over again.

Having studied design for 6 years, this has meant that I have Architecture, Design and Museum books which range from the Coffee Table books to the theory ones.  I think I have more than my Uni Library used to have!  Then there is the travel books and the fiction books which I try and pass on to Charity shops, but there are just some that you want to keep aren't there!

I really like old books and used to love rummaging around Spitalfields and Portabello market when I was in London to find unusual fiction or craft books.  Now being out in the suburbs means I have lots of Charity shops to check out and also the web to get my new book fix!  I have a book from the 1950's on dressmaking and bough my dad an engineering book which was a newer version of something he had at college - good skills for a great rummage in a second hand bookshop in Wantage.

I love rummaging in bookshops wherever I go, I always have a look in museum bookshops, second hand stores and charity shops wherever I go, from New York to Manchester, I have a book from pretty much every place I have visited!  This probably lends itself to a collection, but I have more of them so I like to call this my hoard!

Over the holidays we discovered that my parents had books in every single room of their house (this was not a new thing, but something we just thought about!), apart from the bathrooms - but even then some people like to have a bathroom book don't they?  I'm not sure about that one myself, but each to their own.  My dad's books are more engineering and racing based and my mum's books are art based, then there are the books from my childhood (more about them another time) and the information ones, like the Joy of Knowledge which was the encyclopaedia to have in the 1980's - it got me through my GCSE's!

I love having books around me and often refer back to them for all sorts, but it's like a comfort blanket for me really, I know where I am with them and it's the joy of getting them home and then flicking through it to find something new.  So on that note, I was given Material World by Perri Lewis for Christmas and so I am off to read some fascinating crafty bits!

Love it

Live it: Our Craft Spaces

By now you must know that we have very different styles to our crafting and lives and so we thought to kick start a new feature on the blog we would show you our craft spaces.

H has a little area in her room (the perils of renting) which is small and very organised - I am very organised in general and so like a bit of order and things in piles, as you can see from the piles of fabric below.

It's always a bit of contention in my head though as a creative person you are expected to be chaotic and un-organised and yet I am not!  Does this mean I am not as creative as I think or god forbid not as organised as I think!  It's something I definitely pride myself on but that occasionally I like to kick back and not be that person that people expect!

As you can see though, I have my sewing machine and some boxes on my desk which are filled with glues, pens and those odd bits that never go anywhere else.  Under the desk you get bags and boxes full of fabric, felt and printing equipment; along with patterns, clothes to alter and a collection of tote bags I believe!

Also, above the desk I have a noticeboard and hanging area for all those invites and photos I get sent that I want on display and of course my radio which keeps me going when I am getting my craft on.  As the space takes up part of my room I thought that I should just show this part.  I do also have beads, buttons and ribbons in my wardrobe - well you gotta fit it in somewhere!

So, yes my craft space is small, but its packed to the rafters with fabric, printing blocks, paints, beads, ribbons and buttons.  I do have an added bonus though of having lots of craft goodies at work too, so anything I don't have can be usually found there or at Sammy's place of course!

Sam is very lucky to have a whole room to work in - although you might not think that!

So here goes, very few people have been in my Craft room, and I have tidied up for you, yes this is it when it's tidy. I wish I could show one of those craft spaces you see on other blogs and in magazines, that are all white and clean.... but seriously how do people work in those spaces, I have to have everything where I can see it otherwise I forget what I've got, believe me it may look like chaos but I know where everything is... mostly...

If you stand at my door this is the view you get, This is my desk and my dressing table. When we moved in to our house Steve worked nights at his old job so I put my dressing table in here so that I could get ready for work whilst he was sleeping. It seemed to make sense it being here though as all my jewellery is in here to inspire me when I'm making my own. 
My necklace displays {on the wall to the right} are made from cork boards with push pins in to hold the necklaces, it makes it really easy to find the right one to go with an outfit when I'm in a hurry.

These are two of my pin boards. I bought two of the biggest ones I could find, and spray painted them white, not that you can tell now that they are covered in magazine clippings, drawings, photos and cute trinkets. Under them is a shelving unit which holds some boxes of fabric, baskets of wool, vintage threads but mostly my dress and craft patterns.

If you turn to the right you see my fabric cupboard, my wrapping paper collection and my small shelves. I don't think I have ever been able to close those cupboard doors, lol . I have sketch books and craft resource books, felt, sewing supplies, and photo props all stored here.

If we carry on round you will get to my craft shelves arranged mostly by colour. the top shelf is home to quite a few My Little Ponies, I used to custom make them to sell, I have kept a few of my very favourite ones that I made up here {I have a whole glass case in the kitchen of ones I have collected from other designers, more about that another time} then moving down to boxes of supplies like Fimo and glitter, as well as paper and card, jars of buttons, boxes of ribbon and baskets of lace.

My most used supplies are on and around my desk, Pens, and pencils, paint brushes, glues and stamps, all within easy reach.My new thing is my purple cutting mat, a gift from one of my reps.
Kudos to those who can tell which film I was watching whist taking these photos <3

 We hope you enjoyed seeing our spaces, we cant wait to see some of yours!

H & Sammy

Review: New Look Cloth Magazine

I have been stocking Cloth magazine at Sew Crafty since the first issue, our customers love it! So I was apprehensive when I heard that the Mag had been bought by a larger publisher, was it going to lose it's charm? Was it to lose the feel that we loved about this magazine with just the right amount of dress making, up-cycling and crafts?

I needn't have worried.  Aside from it being bigger in size than before {it used to be A5, now more the size of Mollie Makes}, it is still jam packed with Yummy projects and Gorgeous Photography.
Packed with great ideas for up-cycling your clothes,

Any magazine that has a 'this months Loves' page this pretty is off to a good start in my book. This issue comes with the cutest paper doll, included in her paper wardrobe are some of the items that you can make over the coming issues, such a lovely touch!

A great look inside the Wardrobe of Costume buyer and designer Arianna Cadwallader. She owns a Vintage  monochrome Chanel dress to.die.for!

Packed with great ideas for up-cycling your clothes, with this issue offering a flower appliqué Jacket, some clever Military styling {see front cover} a Cute iPad case and some lush ideas for those winter essentials, Tights.

I am thoroughly smitten with the new look Cloth, I can't wait to have a go at some of these projects. Look out for it in your local Newsagents soon or pop over to Cloth's website for a great subscription offer.

Loving it all things Cloth
Sammy xxx