Merry Christmas 2013

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!

Sammy & H 

Please Vote for us this Christmas #ukba14

Get voting for your favourite UK individual and organisational blogs! The public vote finishes midnight, Sunday 26th January 2014. Read our Blog post around how to vote: Happy Voting!
Morning all!  As the title suggests we are about to ask for you to vote for us in the National UK Blog Awards 2014.  We know you will be stuffing yourself with Turkey and mince pies over Christmas, but if you could vote for us whilst doing some January Sale shopping that would be great too as you have until Sunday 26th January 2014 to vote.

You may have noticed a new button on the right hand side of the blog - just scroll down a bit and you will see it.  You can vote for us using this button or just click this link here:

According to the website: The National UK Blog Awards 2014© are the only Blog Awards recognising a multitude of industry professional talent across the UK. The UK Blog Awards provide a unique opportunity for individual professionals from their sector and organisations to be recognised for their social media achievements through blogging, with the chance to network and be inspired by other industry bloggers.

We are now in the first phase of the awards, the Public Vote! We thought that you lovely lot would perhaps (pretty please) give us a vote, pass onto your friends (as only one vote per person allowed, sorry), share on your networks, do whatever you want really - apart from ignore it, that wouldn't be so nice for us.

There are a whopping 84 pages of blogs on the award nominations list and so I am sure you can find some new blogs to follow too.

We decided to give this awards a go and hoping that the content we have been giving you over the past year and beyond has been what you are looking for and so that's why you would vote for us and like us.  So without begging too much, please vote for us over the holiday time.  We know you will be spending so much time with family and friends but in those spare internet trawling moments (we all have them), do click on and vote.

Thanks in advance and have a lovely Christmas and New Year.  We are going to enjoy our family and friends time and will see you again in the New Year!

H & Sammy

Live it: Sammy's Christmas Tree 2013

I can't help it, I am a Christmas person, any excuse to put a truck load of sparkly stuff in my home!
I always love posting pictures of my tree, to me it means it's officially Christmas in the Claridge household. 

This year my theme is black, white and gold, I have my white tree from last year, but I limited my colour pallet, re-used a lot of decorations from my collection and added a few new home-made ones too. I made theses sparkly diamonds out of 5 gold pipe cleaners at 10p each, cheap and cheerful. 

I bought some rustic wooden hearts from Hobbycraft and painted them white with a different black pattern on each one, they make a great addition to the tree, and a bargain at around £1.75 each (including ribbon and paint)

The only ornaments I splashed out on this year was these little ceramic owls, they were £3 each from our local Shaw Trust charity shop, so they made me feel good as the money was for charity and how cute are they! The stars are another home-made addition to the tree, I used air drying clay and a cookie cutter. Then painted them white, with gold liquid leaf paint on the edges.

I am so happy with how my tree turned out this year, I love the way it glows in our lounge and I can't wait to put all our family and friends gifts under it on Christmas eve. Here is a quick look at some of the other decorations I have put up too. We have some paper snowflakes in the kitchen, as well as glitter stars over the mirror with a tinsel bauble garland. I made some extra clay stars and strung them up to make a garland over the doors in our lounge, I used some letter stamps to emboss 'wish upon a star' onto the middle, this may be my favourite decoration, I think I may make it a permanent feature.

This Christmas is going to be different for us this year as it will be the first one without my Grandpa who passed away in March. He was such a huge part of our celebrations and we will miss him loads, but I know he will be with us in our memories. He wouldn't have wanted us to be sad and miss him, so we are scheduling lots of games and movies to keep us entertained. In honour of G'pa there may even be some very bad carol singing. 

I hope you enjoyed that little peek at our decorations for this year, I would love to hear about your decorations, If you have posted any pictures, pop a link in the comments so we can head over and take a look. 

Have a magical, festive weekend
Sammy xxx

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Keep up with our Christmas antics on our instagrams... Sammy's and H's.

Love it: Christmas Jumpers

Top row L to R: Max C snowflake from ASOS, Black Snowflake from H&M, Christmas Reindeers from River Island.
Bottom row L to R: Polar Bear from Asda, Understated in blue, white and red from Tesco, Snowmen from Vardagen via Etsy.

The Christmas Jumper has been seeing a revival over the last few years.  Gone are the days of worrying about getting a Mr Darcy rudolph jumper, as sometimes the tackier the better!  and, don't even get me started on onesies, but they seem to be in on the act too!

I was looking around at the Jumpers as I was going to take part in Save the Children's Christmas Jumper Day, last Friday (what a way to jazz up Friday the 13th!).  The ones above were a few of my favourites and so I thought I would share them with you guys for all your jumper needs.

In the end I decided to give the money I would have spent on getting a new jumper to Save the Children, rather than buying a jumper I didn't really need and only donating £1, I thought I would donate more, go me.

Those who did join in though looked amazing, you can check out the site here for a snapshot of what was worn and if everyone who did it donated £1, then I think Save the Children did very very well.

I love donating to Charity at Christmas as a very worthy cause gets some extra cash and I do get the feel good factor myself.  My family and I do small gifts and then give to charity and so every year I look at a different charity, whether that be home or away.

What's your favourite feel good factor about Christmas?  I know people who help at Shelter and Crisis every year and I used to run an event for older people who would normally be on there own on Christmas Day, which without the volunteers really wouldn't have happened, so there is plenty of feel good factor out there too.


Festive Gift Wrapping Fun

We had such a brilliant time at our gift wrap workshop last week at Norden Farm, wrapping, decorating and eating the Frosted Fancies that H had bought along, Yum! So we thought we would share some photos of the fun we had.

Sammy bought along - a frankly obscene amount of Christmassy goodies to play with and help give our gifts some Live it. Love it. Make it. flair. Everything from bells to sprigs of holly were on offer...

...and a good wrapping session isn't complete without washi tape...

...oh and frosted fancies.

Sammy loves these fold out trees she picked up from Hobbycraft.

Sammy thinks this cracker style wrap was her favourite.

Nothing says Christmas like gold, gold and more gold - this was H's favourite.

These foam stickers, also from Hobbycraft made a great alternative to gift tags to spell out the recipients names on their parcels.

Sammy loves this candy cane wrapping paper from Sainsbury's.

This red snowflake trim from Wilko's is a great touch to jazz up a gift.

All our ladies said they had a lovely time, and so did we. This class, as most of ours do, had a really laid back chatty feel to it. One of the girls said that it was so nice to come along and have some time to herself, and learn something new . That is what our classes are all about, so it was great to have such wonderful feedback.

I hope this has inspired you to have fun with your gift wrapping this year, I know it has given us some new ideas to try.

Sammy & H, xxx

Our 'The Makery Emporium' Adventure

If you saw our post from last week about our little day trip to Bath, You will have seen that we stopped into the Makery Emporium whilst we were there. I have been dying to visit The Makery since I first heard about it back in early 2010 and since they opened the emporium I have been even keener to make the trip. Being a haberdashery shop owner myself, I am always looking for other shops to visit to see how they display things, what they stock and of course it usually ends up in a cheeky purchase... this visit was no exception.

The name 'Emporium' is the perfect description of this gorgeous little crafty haven. No bigger than someone's front room, it is packed with beautiful ribbons, trims, buttons and fabrics, no boring basics in this little store. 

I may have picked up a few fat quarters to add to my collection...

I love the displays in this place, this old printing tray was used to show off the cutest rubber stamps and this vintage Sylko thread cabinet is a brilliant home for modern Guttermann threads.

All their ribbon and trims are stored on these yummy wooden reels, they also sell the reels, so you can pick up some for your own trimming collection. 

All the lovely little buttons, findings and charms are stored and displayed in an amazing collection of dishes, trays and jars, just like a sweetie shop! 

They have a really colourful selection of goodies on offer in such a small space, it is a feast for the eyes, even a non sewer/crafter would undoubtedly enjoy a visit. They also had a selection of their new Make Away kits on offer (you may have seen them on Dragons Den).

H and I literally can't wait to go back in the new year, we are going to go and visit the workshop space and hopefully get ourselves booked into one of their classes.

We had such a lovely day in Bath, but the highlight for me was definitely visiting The Makery

If you can't make it to Bath you can shop with them online and you may have seen our review of Kate Smith's (founder of The Makery) book 'Makery' back in October, a great gift for anyone crafty.  You can also buy their 'Make Away' kits online in their store at the stocking stuffing price of £15.00... Bargain!  H and I are both hoping for the Stags Head kit for Christmas (I am a little gutted I didn't pick one up whilst I was there) 

Have you been to visit The Makery? what did you think? have you been to one of their workshops? We would love to know what you thought.
Also, if you have any recommendations of places for H and I to visit, let us know in the comments <3

If you want to hear more about The Makery, check out the new issue of Craftseller Magazine for an interview with the lovely Kate Smith.
Sammy xxx

Link for the week: Etsy Guide

I know we are speeding towards Christmas and so this link might not be what you think I might share.  You would have thought it would be all about presents, right.  Well, I know that at this time of year, I start writing a big old list of things I want to do with my days off.  I know, I know, I should probably be relaxing, but I need to have something to do in those quieter moments!

The girls from New Craft Society sent us over the handy Etsy guide they found and so we thought we would pass it on also.

We have been meaning to do an Etsy shop for ages and so this may be just our kind of guide!


Liberty of London

Photo courtesy of Channel 4
H and I need no more excuses to go to our favourite London store, Liberty, but if you need persuading, look no further than Monday nights on channel 4, the documentary 'Liberty of London' will give you about a million! This series has been a refreshingly honest look behind the scenes of this iconic home of the extraordinary. From the staff, to the product, to the customers, it is fascinating. Episode 2 that aired last Monday gave an insight into the design proses of the world famous Liberty print fabrics, which in my opinion could fill a series itself.

The thing I love most about the show is the brilliant honesty that is relived from the staff and the GM himself that Liberty, like any business struggles to stay current whist classic and to stay out of the red with the bank. You don't expect to hear that a store of this stature and age, only five years ago was struggling to make payroll. Like many of the shows before it though, it is that characters within the staff that make the show. From the floor staff in the haberdashery department, to the fabric designers, to the sales lady who has worked for Liberty for 40 years (and as their top sales person makes over 1/2 a million for them in sales every year), each of them is a gem and more than anything is truly in love with their life within Liberty. 

Photo courtesy of  Vogue Italy
So if you have never visited the store before, or if you are a regular visitor like H and Myself, tune in this Monday 9pm Channel 4 to catch episode 3 of three (Channel 4 please make more!!!) and catch up with what you have missed on 4OD, you will not be disappointed.

Hope you have a lovely weekend
Sammy xxx