Myth Busting: Blogging

Despite being bloggers for nearly 5 years now we haven't ever really written anything about blogging. We thought it was about time that we did a little post about the things that people think we do and about blogging and bloggers in general. Those blogging myths, if you like. It is always interesting to see what people think about what you do and everyone has a different take on it I am sure, but these are just some of the myths we thought should be busted!

Myth #1: Everyone has a journalism background.
Not everyone starts their blog as part of a journalism degree or as a way to get free clothing when they are cash strapped.  Many blogs are now started earlier and earlier and in the UK, the fashion and beauty bloggers and vloggers are kings and queens.  Not everyone who starts a blog thinks that they are great at writing. We started with a idea and have learnt about our writing styles along the way - probably still learning there - which is no bad thing. Sammy is still terrible at spelling!  Getting your ideas down and relating to your audience is key, but you really don't need to have taken a degree in it or worked in publishing to do that.

Myth #2: Your going to earn loads of money from your blog.
Lots of people think that we get free stuff and get paid lots for what we do.  Not true.  Obviously that would be lovely, a great way to add to our day job income.  However making a blog work, takes time and hard work.  We have been to many talks and discussions about this and it really depends on each person, but just making money from writing a blog is unusual.  The money comes from advertising, writing for other people and other opportunities that come from having a blog a lot of the time.  Sometimes brands send you items to review, that in itself has a responsibility attached.  You don't want to give a good review if you don't actually like it and also, would you really use it if you were paying for it?  Just because it is free, doesn't mean its a good brand match for you and as lovely as freebies are, they do not pay the rent!

Myth #3: We go to amazing events all the time.
We can only speak of personal experience here, we both have quite full on day jobs, which means we can't go to the opening of every envelope in town, we also don't live in a big City and so we have to pick and choose the events we go to carefully.  Also, we don't always get invited!  We just are not in uber blogger status yet, I know, hard to believe hey!  We would love to be invited and attend more events and meet more bloggers. This is definitely on the networking wishlist.  We also want to go to events that we really want to go to and sometimes we just can't do it which is a shame, but luckily social media always gives us an eye into what went on which helps.

Myth #4:  Blogging is just fun, doesn't take anytime at all.
Blogging is really fun, however to make your blog successful you need to put the time and effort in.  If you just want to write something down every now and again, by all means start a blog, just don't expect to become a blogging superstar overnight.  Anyone can start a blog, its so simple, you just have to have something to say and commit to doing it.  However, if you want to make it something you are proud of, it takes good photography skills, ideas and all of that spare time that you have.  There are two of us and it can be a balancing act with jobs, personal lives and our blog, but we want it to be something that will continue to grow, which means many Sundays spent doing tutorials, many weekends checking out new fun things to do and then stopping every 2 minutes to take photographs and also blog meetings in the pub.  I am not going to lie, they all sound ace, but it can eat into your time with other people and so be prepared.

Myth #5:  We all have amazing homes.
You really do need to see behind the camera.  We move, polish and pile up our daily lives, just to get that perfect shot of a white background for the tutorial.  We have a habit of choosing a little spot halfway between the bedroom and the bathroom or nearest to a window, to get the best light and a nice even surface.  We really do not live our lives like you see it on camera, so don't panic.  Most of us have quite normal homes that mean the clutter and chaos that is around, just gets shoved to the side, but it wouldn't be quite the same for you to think that we are like mere mortals would it?

Any bloggers out there agree, what would be your top myth you would like busted?  Let us know in the comments below.

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My month in Instagrams

This month has been a whirlwind of birthdays and a busy day job and so plenty of Instagram worthy pictures to post.  So I thought it would be good to show you an insight into my month.

I have already posted about our trip to Rock & Rose and so I won't say it again, but it was a great highlight of the month.

More food came on our visit to Renegade, when we popped into Rosa's, which has by far my favourite ever fresh spring rolls and so I always try and get a visit in at some point in my visits into London.

Then, Sammy and I took a trip to Ikea, for a few of those little bits that I just really needed for my flat - I didn't really need most of them, but thought a visit would be good.  Plus a good excuse to get some of those meatballs!  Who doesn't love a trip just for that!

This picture of my niece's holding hands, just makes me heart melt, so I couldn't resist sharing it with you.

I went to a work conference this month and we got to take a look around the new wing to the Lyric in Hammersmith, which was ace.  We also got to see a preview of their latest show, Bugsy Malone, which is one of my all time favourites and they did so well.  All of the young people involved in the production were so good and they even had the energy at the end to do some impromptu dancing to finish.

Last but by no means least, at work we had the Young Curators co-curate the Planes, Trains and Automobiles exhibition.  We got it all up and added their ideas, like a zebra crossing and Belisha Beacon, aswell as a trail and lots of fun facts around the exhibition to name just a few.  I love seeing how the Young people involved in Young Curators decide on the pictures and what they want out of an exhibition, adds a different element to the exhibitions we have.

So, a fun packed full month there.  I think I might need a big long sleep after all that lot.

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April Monthly Favourites

April is coming to an end, with a distinct lack of April Showers to show for it, which has been lovely, has it been the same where you are? Grab a cuppa or a cheeky ice cream and lets get on with some of my favourites this month.

I have been lusting over the Custard Cream Cushion from Nikki McWillams for the longest time, with no excuse to fit yellow into my colour schemes anywhere in my home! Then my prayers were answered when Nikki announced her classic biscuit cushions in pastel tones and opened a pre order option via her Instagram . I am in love, I ordered Mint and Parma Violet and they are just so gorgeous, I may have to get the pink and blue to complete the set!

East Wick were a company I discovered via our trip to Renegade craft fair this month, I had been searching for a minty scented candle and when I smelt the Peppermint and Eucalyptus at the fair I fell in love. They are natural soy, vegan friendly and come in this super simple classy jar. I have been burning it loads, the fresh smell is so great for spring, I feel a re-purchase coming on very soon.

In a departure from my usual 'Mint Candy Apple' staple spring shade for nail polish I have been loving Essie Stones n' Roses, A gorgeous pastel coral, with this Sech Vite top coat it makes it last for ages and dries super fast, even on my bendy flaky nails.

Say hello to Caboodle Magazine, in my opinion the UK's answer to Frankie! Filled with Yummy fashion layouts, inspirational photography, Pinterest worthy finds and interviews with the young and talented.  I may be a little biased as Sew Crafty has a little advert in these pretty pages but seriously if you like Frankie but yearn for something a little less muted, Caboodle is for you! Order your copy now from the website.

Last but not least, another couple of Renegade purchases in the form of this constellation bracelet from Fleur Caroline and 'We are all mad here' ring from the Silver Shed. I have been wearing both non stop since the fair.

I hope you have had a great April and have some exciting plans for May! What are your faves this month?  If you have blogged about them, link up your posts in the comments below so we can all take a look.  Oh and some of you have asked where my calendar is from, I downloaded it from Lemon Thistle blog.

Have a lovely weekend

Sammy xxx

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Sewing tips: Basics #2

We are just addicted to sharing our fave tips and tricks when it comes to sewing and crafts. We are diving into a second round of sewing tips today, don't forget to check out our previous tips Basics #1 and How to Fall in Love With Your Sewing MachineAlso why not check out my fabric buying tips and pattern advice from last year. Quite a mixed bag this time so lets get going....

Zips: Not sure about which size zip you need, don't panic Zips can be cut to size. If you buy one that is too long, as long as you stitch across the ends to stop the runner from coming off you can cut off the excess to make it the right length for your project.

Patterns: Make your patterns last longer by tracing them off onto greaseproof paper rather than cutting out from your pattern sheet. It means you never cut anything important away and if you need to make adjustments you don't spoil your original pattern papers.

Pattern Sizing: The big brand patterns, Simplicity, McCall's etc, often work from fashion sizing measurements not retail sizing measurements. You will often need to make up your patterns in a larger size than you would buy in the shops. If in doubt always check the body and garment measurements on each pattern and make to the size it recommends for your stats.

Fabrics: One thing we tell our customers at Sew Crafty all the time is to go home and wash their fabric before they start their projects. Even if you aren't using cotton fabric (which can shrink when washed) or the project you have in mind wont be washed afterwards, it is still worth giving it a rinse and an iron before you start to get rid of any dust or creases.

Tools: Invest in a small ruler, it is helpful to have a small measuring tool to hand so you don't always have to reach for your tape measure.

Storage: Rather than a pretty but not totally functional sewing basket for all your machine parts and sewing notions, why not invest in a tool box or vanity case. The mix of large and small compartments are perfect for keeping all those little bits and bobs in order.

Button Holes: Pop a pin in the end of your button hole to stop cutting too far and ruining your button hole.

Machine Stitching: Always check your machine top and bottom tension before you start to sew. If you have a bobbin case dangle it with the bobbin inside, if it shakes down slowly its perfect, if it falls it's too loose and if it doesn't move its too tight.

Seams: Always press your seams as you go, you will never regret it later.

Seating: Make sure your sewing machine chair is at a good height for your machine and is comfortable. But do make sure you get up and take breaks every so often, so you don't get too stiff.

Equipment: Always try and buy the best equipment you can afford. Cheap haberdashery is usually cheap for a reason. This is most important when referring to thread. The time it takes to make a garment to have the seams pop the first time you wear it is not worth the saving!

I hope these will be helpful, even if you are a seasoned machinist. Look out for our next tips post that I am working on at the moment all about Sewing Machine feet. As usual let us know your favourite tips in the comments below, we love to learn new tricks.

Sammy xxx

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H's Vintage Homeware

Hello there, today I have a little sneak peek at my new abode for you and also some Vintage treasures for you to take a look at.  We all know by now I am sure that I love Vintage clothing and this extends to my home wares and luckily I have parents who never like to throw away anything good and also a some great little charity shops around me which I can delve into.

Today's treats though have come by way of my parents and I love every little story behind them and so I thought I would share them with you.

I guess I should start with the title picture.  This little beauty of a coffee table used to be in our living room when I was growing up and when one of my oldest friends popped around for a visit the other week, she remembered it, so it must be good.  I love the style and those legs, just perfect 1970's style.  It goes really well with my modern rug and sofa too.

Next up are these curtains, which I know full well are not to everyone's taste and usually Orange is not a colour I go for.  But these curtains just have something about them and have been hanging around even longer than the coffee table I think.  They started in my parents house before I was born, then into the house I grew up in, my brother had them at his first house for a while and now they are with me.  My mum thinks she got the fabric from a market as she didn't have long enough curtains for the longer windows.  So handmade also.  I have been waiting to get my own place to have these for years.

Who doesn't love a bit of crockery and having your own place means you get to keep it all for yourself.  I have been given plates, bowls and all sorts, but these soup bowls are just ace.  Obviously the blue ones need not much introduction as I would clearly love them for their colour.  I also remember using the Owl bowls when I was growing up, no wonder I love owls so much.

Lastly and by no means least, this fabric is in fact a bedspread. My mum said she used to have it on her bed when she was at home and so it has done its time.  I love the pattern and colour obviously, but mostly I love that it's something that my mum used and that I will now use.

I love that Vintage has a story and it's even better when you know that story and have a connection with it.  Brings the comforts of your childhood into your new home.  Don't get me wrong there is always a place for a little Ikea and Tiger - who doesn't love them, but knowing that something has lasted this long and will continue to last, is brilliant.

What do you have that reminds you of your childhood?  Do you have things that keep getting passed around the family? I would love to hear more.

Hope your all having a great day!

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Sammy's Top Ten Ways to Find Your Happy

I sometimes find it hard to be a happy person. People who know me (even those who know me well) may find that hard to believe, but I have been this way all my life. Having worked in retail for as long as I can remember, I ,like many others manage to find a 'happy face' that I put on like a mask and to hide behind when life is not so rosy.

Over the past year or so I have been working on getting rid of my mask and being happy from the inside. I think it is important for everyone, naturally 'happy' or not, to have little tricks to find the best in yourself and those around you. To relish the little things that make us smile and let go of the negativity that creeps in every now and again. I wanted to pass on some of the things I have learnt that work for me, in the hope that they might work for some of you.

There is only one rule before you attempt any of the following mood boosting activities... Turn off your tech!

1. My number one will be no surprise... Get your craft on! Whatever it is that you like to do, create something, anything just for fun. Not to sell, or to give to someone just because you can. Did you know that crafts like knitting and crochet have been shown to significantly help people cope with stress and anxiety?

2. Make a list, can be a list about anything, maybe a list of goals, or dreams. A wish list of all your summer wardrobe essentials or places in the world you would like to visit, anything as long as it is a list of happy positive thoughts. Getting some exciting, happy thoughts down on paper can help you to focus on what you want in life and you never know it might be the beginning of something wonderful.

3. Watch your favourite movie. Sit down with a cup of tea and a blanket, close all the curtains and just enjoy all the things you love about being entrained by your favourite actors doing their thing. I love the film Footloose, it always puts me in a good mood and because I have watched it so many times I know all the words! Love it!

4. Do a fun exercise, roller-blading, skipping, bike riding, anything you can do outside where you can breath some fresh air and take deep breaths, oh and have fun whilst you are doing it. I NEVER thought I would say that but I really find that getting my body moving makes me feel better.

5. Call a friend, You don't have to talk about how your feeling, just have a fun chat, talk about your favourite TV show or how much fun you had last time you were together.

6. Read a book, escape for a while into a world away from wherever you are.

7. Eat something healthy and colourful. A mixed salad with loads of different coloured peppers and onions and lettuce, or something sweeter like a mixed fruit salad with Kiwi, strawberries and blueberries. Honestly eating something healthy will make you feel virtuous and it being colourful will make it fun. Why not try making it look interesting by taking time to prepare it all neatly, maybe try fruit kebabs?

8. Have a sort out. rearrange, reorganise, renovate! Try sorting your wardrobe, you might find some treasures you forgot you had? or just make room for some new bits. Sort your craft stash, organise your kitchen cupboards, whatever your thing is, it will give you a great sense of achievement to de-clutter some of the old to create some room for something new.

9. Write a letter to yourself. You can choose to write to your future self or your younger self, but make it about all the things you wish for or about all the things you have achieved. Hide it away for a day when you are feeling down and need a pick me up.

10. Treat yourself to a pamper. Have a bath or a shower, use your best products, taking time to enjoy the fragrances and feeling of getting squeaky clean. Give yourself a manicure, use your favourite nail polish and take your time, don't rush yourself.

I really hope some of those will help any of you who might be struggling to stay positive. If you have anything that you do that helps you to boost your mood, please add it in the comments, or tweet us with the #MoreHappyMe I would love to hear about the things that make you happy.

Have a happy, joyful, positive, fun weekend
Sammy xxx

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Let's Meet: Floss & Mischief

Hello there everyone, and how are we?  Loving the sunshine I hope. It's time for our Let's meet series of course and so time for a cuppa and a sit down to look at some gorgeous work from Genevieve at Floss & Mischief.

Love it: Renegade Haul

If you were watching our Instagram feed yesterday you will know that we went to the first Spring version of one of our favourite craft fairs, Renegade in London.

Once again there was so much to look at and instead of our usual post about the whole event, as you can read all about them in previous posts - we thought we would show you what we bought, much more fun!

H's stash; Mouse and Cheese Earrings from I am Acrylic, Animal Coasters from Karin Akesson, Arrow necklace from A Weathered Penny, Constellation bracelet from Fleur CarolineAnchor keyring made in the I am Acrylic workshop, Leather black and silver necklace from Tiny Track.

Sammy's Stash; Bag and Succulent from Oh No Rachio, Candle from East Wick, Bag, Pencil cards, Fabric tag and note books from Oh Squirrel, midi ring from Star and Metal, 'We're all mad here' ring from The Silver Shed, cards from Emma Margaret Illustrations, the Paper Hare and Hello Harriet, Succulent from Geo-fleur, Camera print Pouch from Duck and Duffel, Window necklace from A Weathered Penny, Constellation bracelet from Fleur Caroline, Necklace made in the I am Acrylic workshop. 

Phew!  That was a lot of shopping, we did well. All new goodies for us! It was such a lovely day aswell so a pop to Rosa's for some Thai food (a favourite) and what a great post birthday day out for me too!  yey.  We really did have a truly magical day - Thanks Emma Margaret Illustrations for the very apt business card!

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Renegade Wishlist

House Frame Pendant from A Weathered Penny  /  Concrete Succulent pot from Concrete Jungles  /  Geometric Hanger from Geo-Fleur  /  Cloudy Stars Notebook by Nikki Strange  /  We're All Mad Here Ring from The Silver Shed  /  Peppermint Soy Candle from East Wick

H and I are especially excited to be heading into London this weekend to check out our fave craft fair for it's first spring show. Renegade is where you find the best of the best designer makers so we always love our trips to the Old Truman Brewery to get our fix and pick up some unique pieces at the same time. I have already picked out some of the bits I want to get whilst I'm there.

What are you up to this weekend? Will we see you at Renegade? or are you planning on doing some making of your own?

Sammy xxx

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Live it: Rock & Rose

Over the long weekend we got to enjoy some time with friends and family as most of you did I am sure.  One of the places we did this was at Rock & Rose over in Richmond.  We have been before but it is always nice to go back to a place you have really enjoyed and get to eat some lovely food once again.  This time was for a friends birthday and so we knew she would have organised her own dessert treats for us too - extra bonus.
We were seated in a little side room as there were a few of us and it was nice to be a little bit away from the main restaurant - as we can get pretty loud!  We had pre-ordered our food and so there was not any food order waits, which always makes my stomach very happy and made for a simpler life.
The food as always was lovely, I opted for the Chilli Salt Squid to start and Sammy had the Soup of the Day and we both opted for Piri Piri Chicken for main.  Then onto the treats for dessert that our friend Kelly had bought, most of which was handmade.  Cake, marshmallows, cookies, macaroons and fudge, we could just about waddle home afterwards!
We had a great afternoon, full of fun, laughter and cocktails and would definitely recommend Rock & Rose for a visit.  They do get booked up pretty quickly though, so I would also recommend booking in advance.  The staff were lovely and really attentive and so we had all that we needed for a great afternoon.
It's making me hungry all over again!

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Mollie Makes Hot Air Balloon subscriber Tutorial

Hello there and Happy Easter Monday to you all!  We hope you have been having a fab long weekend so far and long may it continue today with some nice weather!

You may have seen via social media that we have been once again featured in Mollie Makes magazine this month.  Yey. This time though it's a special feature for subscribers only.  Sorry for those who are not yet subscribers, however as a treat you can check out this exclusive preview of issue 52.

It's a fun little tutorial to make these embroidery hoop hot air balloons!  You can tailor the balloons to whatever theme or colours you like and so they are perfect for a children's room or office space.

So you don't miss out next time on Mollie Makes treats, you can subscribe for more exclusive projects at My Favourite Magazines.

Do let us know what you think to the project and if you have a go, please do tweet us or Instagram with #livelovemake.

Have a great day!
H & Sammy

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Make it: Pastel and Neon Clutch Bag

It feels like handbag central here this week, Wednesday's post was how to organise and today you can add to your collection with this DIY pastel and neon colour block clutch bag. A simple colourful make to brighten up our rainy Easter weekend. I have seen loads of these peek-a-boo bags around lately and I was itching to use my Teflon sewing machine foot again. 

You will need: A bright coloured zip 14"/16", an A4 sheet of leatherette, two A4 sheets of clear vinyl plastic, a sewing machine with a Teflon foot (or some Scotch magic tape stuck to the bottom of your zipper foot) You could sew this project by hand with embroidery floss too if you don't have a machine.
I picked up these sheets of pastel leatherette on Ebay and the sparkle plastic was from a shower curtain I found in the pound shop a while back.

Step 1. Start by cutting your leatherette in half long ways.
Step 2. Attach the zip by sewing along one edge of the leatherette. Go slow and steady, as you won't be able to use pins.
Step 3. It should look a little something like this.
Step 4. Line up the second piece of leatherette and sew in place on the other side of the zip.
Step 5. Take your two pieces of vinyl and sew them to the bottom edge of the leatherette.
Step 6. Sew it to the inside and if you like use a zigzag or other decorative stitch. It will help it look neater if your line isn't very straight. Repeat for the other side. Again, go slowly as the pieces may want to move around.

Step 7. Undo the zip to over half way undone and fold in half with the right sides facing each other.
Step 8. With the bag inside out sew all the way around the three sides of the bag with a straight stitch. Try to sew the corners slightly rounded or sew across them to help when it is turned through.
Step 9. Trim away any excess edges and the ends of the zip.
Step 10. Turn your new clutch right side out and fill it with loads of pretty stuff.

I know the clear section at the bottom won't be for everyone, but you could flip it so that the clear section is at the top? For me it will help stop me from carrying around too much junk in my bag on nights out! I love how simple and quick this was. I think I might make a few more slightly bigger and use them as fun document holders for work and for my office at home. They would definitely cheer up boring VAT returns!

I do hope you all have a fabulous Bank Holiday Weekend
Sammy xxx

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Make it: Handbag Storage Solution

This little area in our home has been waiting for a makeover for so long so when Space Station Storage got in touch asking for some ideas for their Storage Solutions Project I knew exactly which space needed attention. I wanted to create an attractive handbag storage solution worthy of any walk-in wardrobe for under £50. I have so many handbags I wanted to have a fun, tidy space to store them in.