Tutorial Thursday: Embroidered Notebook ♥

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Hi guys! I’m excited to be here today to share a simple embroidery DIY for Alice’s blog.

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Here’s what you will need to get started:

• A moleskin notebook

• Embroidery thread and needle

• Pencil

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On the inside cover of your notebook, sketch out your design using a pencil. I went for a simple raindrop.

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Using your needle, make holes a long the lines of your design, around 0.5cm apart.

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Take a length of embroidery thread (I used all 6 strands) and sew around your pre punched holes using a backstitch. This video shows you how to make the stitches.

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Once you have sewn around your design, fasten off with a knot on the inside cover of the notebook. Snip the ends of the thread and you’re done!

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What I love about this DIY is you can change the design and colours to suit you. You could try a monogrammed notebook or flowers perhaps!

Thanks again to Alice for having me on her blog today!

Claire x

I have loved having Claireabellemakes with us this week. Her work is so delicate and gorgeous to look at. I do hope you will all continue to follow her work and do check out the interview she did with us on Tuesday. Coming up next week we have Lindsey Portas, who I am VERY excited about!!

Thank you Claire and HAPPY THURSDAY!

Introducing: Claire ♥

Claireabellemakes

Good Morning! Please forgive me for my LONG absence! I have been a busy little bee, however I am now, back! This week we have a lovely guest with us and I can’t wait to share her tutorial with you this upcoming Thursday! I won’t keep you waiting any longer (I feel I’ve kept you waiting long enough these past few weeks!)
So, lets welcome Claire…

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

I’m Claire aka Claireabellemakes and I live in Cambridge, UK. I spend my life playing Scrabble, riding bicycles and making jewellery and accessories, as well as crocheting and knitting. I have a huge stationery obsession and adore sending snail mail. I am also a crazy cat lady which I’m really not ashamed of.

How would you explain your style and and what is your work process?

Ultimately I like to make things that look nice! I tend to stick with pastel colours when working with fabric and when I make accessories, I prefer items that can be worn every day. Most of my projects begin with a notebook sketch or plan, and I often try multiple versions of projects until I get it just right. My preferred work space is definitely my craft studio space in my home, but I often meet friends for crochet and tea afternoons too.

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Where did your love of handmade begin for you? Do you have any upcoming projects?

My grandmother taught me to knit as a child and I would spend hours making garter stitch scarves with tons of dropped stitches! I’ve always been ‘crafty’ but over the last 3 years my love of handmade has really grown. There are so many talented makers out there, it is hard not to be inspired to craft yourself. My current projects include some crochet blankets and new Scrabble accessories for my Etsy store. I am very tempted to start another crochet jumper too as you can’t beat a handmade garment.

For you, what is the best part of working in the craft industry?

In a personal sense, it’s the community and how supportive everyone is. There is a great feeling of encouragement and such a willingness to help others. I’ve always been a people person and it makes me happy that there are so many people enjoying craft. Making something with your own hands is a great feeling and being able to share that with others is really positive. In a business sense, I adore the interaction with customers to create gifts and custom orders. I recently made a Scrabble Wall Art as a groom’s gift to his bride and it was such a special feeling to be part of their day.

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You’ve done a lot of work with many people in this industry, such as Make and Craft Magazine. Are there any you dream of working or collaborating with?

Over the last year I have worked with a publisher to contribute to some craft books alongside other makers. One day I would love to work with a publisher in creating my own title, but I know there is a lot to learn first! I think every maker would love to be featured in Mollie Make magazine too, it’s just such an inspiring publication!

And finally, what advice would you give to someone branching out in the handmade world?

Be brave and push yourself. Keep your eyes open for opportunities. I have done things I never thought I would be capable of and I’m pleased I did! I would also recommend being as organised as you can possibly be if you are planning to make as a business. I’m a big fan of my Filofax for organising and planning and I think I’d be lost without it.

Please join Claire on Thursday, where she will be sharing with us a tutorial, involving paper & embroidery! Two lovely handmade elements! In the mean time, do check out Claires work on her blog, instagram, pinterest, twitter and her etsy!

Introducing: Kate Marsden ♥

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Joining us today, is Kate Marsden. A textile designer and fibre artist. I stumbled across her blog and instantly wanted to know more! I love textile art and SO wish I could do it myself.
I hope you enjoy her interview with us this week and like me, can’t wait for her new designs and collections!

✎ Tell us a little bit about yourself…

I’m a textile designer based in far South London. My designs are inspired by life in the city and in particular mid-century architecture and textile design.

✎ Where did your love for fabric and textiles come from? Do you have any upcoming Projects?

I can’t really remember when it started, but my love of fashion (which led me to study Fashion & Textiles at college) started at primary school when I first tried making clothes, and use to make fashion zines for my friends and generally drive them crazy with it!
I’m currently preparing for Thread Festival of Textiles at Farnham Maltings (26-27 September) and looking to apply for some fairs and markets on the run up to Christmas. I’m also working on some new designs and ideas for products.

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✎ Whats a typical working day for you?

I tend to spend most of my time at the computer! Up until now I’ve had three nice long working days each week, while my son has been at nursery, but he starts school in September so I’m going to have to work around that (which could be fun!). I wrote a day in the life post for my blog in July, so you can see what my days (used to) look like there! http://madebymrsm.co.uk/2014/07/28/day-in-the-life-me/.

✎ For you, whats the best part of working in the craft industry?

Having the opportunity to do something I love. I’m so grateful for this after so many years working in the City and often dreading it. I don’t love every element of what I do now (still plenty of admin, spreadsheets and the like) but it feels totally different when you’re doing it for yourself.
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✎ You’ve been featured on many blogs, recently including UK Handmade. Is there a dream collaboration or blog you’d love to work with?

My dream collaboration would probably be Liberty. I’ve already used their fabrics alongside mine in products, and I would love to be able to do more of this. A slot on their craft blog would be a dream too!

And finally, what advice would you give to someone who is starting in the creative field?  

Make sure you’re really passionate about what you do before you take the leap. It is really hard work and it can be easy to become discouraged if business is slow/things aren’t happening as quickly as you’d like. It’s also helpful if you can learn to accept rejection and not take it too personally (easier said than done!). Oh, and don’t expect to be designing and making all day, as I said, I tend to spend most of my time on the computer, and although part of my design process takes place there, most of the time I’m doing admin or writing!

Join Kate on Thursday 14th August to catch her tutorial on making a vintage fabric cushion. Feel free to check out more of Kates work on her blog or her Etsy Shop (she will be moving her shop to Folksy beginning of September)! You can also take a mooch on her Facebook, Twitter: @madebymrsm, Instagram: @madebymrsm and Pinterest

Tutorial Thursday: Marimekko Stool ❤︎

Marimekko stool (finished, closer)

Following up from the interview, Kirsty is sharing a beautiful DIY Stool today. I feel the flowers are definitely very prominent, what with the WW1 events happening in  London this week. So, without further a do, I pass you over to the lovely maker herself! 

I’m a little bit wary of describing this project as napkin decoupage, even though that’s exactly what it is. So many of the projects which usually employ the same technique are . . . well, not really my cup of tea. Lots of country florals, cutesy animals and the kind of finished items my partner describes as dust-catchers. If you feel the same way, I’m hoping this mid-century inspired idea might change your mind. When I found these beautiful Marimekko table napkins a couple of weeks ago, I knew I didn’t just want to keep them stashed away for the rare occasions when we have people over for dinner. My original plan was to use them to decorate a large block canvas and hang it as a piece of wall art, but then I spotted this white stool-slash-side-table in Habitat, and it was a done deal. Check out the instructions below to see how it came together.

Supplies:

Stool, table or other surface to decorate
Paper table napkins
Scissors
Iron + ironing board
Decoupage medium (e.g. Mod Podge)
Paintbrush
Craft knife
Fine sandpaper or nail file

Notes:

+ Bear in mind that as you’ll only be using the very thin top layer of the napkin, the colour of the surface beneath will show through and effect the way it looks. As a general rule, it’s best to go with white or a very pale, neutral shade. If you need to paint your surface to make this work, be sure the paint is thoroughly dry before you start.

+ Decoupage medium is a magnet for fine pieces of dust, fluff and hair. It’s SO frustrating to have to keep wiping them off your work, and even worse if you don’t notice them until it’s dry. Where possible, work over a clean, smooth surface (I used my wooden desk), keeping away from things like fans and open windows, and shut out or distract any pets until you’re finished.

How-to:

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1. Cut out the shapes you want to use from the napkin, leaving a very narrow border around the edge. If the background of your napkin is a contrasting colour (i.e. not white), you might find it’s more effect to cut right up to the outline.

2. Peel away the backing layers of paper so you’re just left with the top, coloured piece. Use a warm iron to smooth out any wrinkles or creases (turn off the steam setting first).

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3. Brush a thin layer of decoupage medium or Mod Podge onto the surface of the stool, covering an area slightly larger than your first paper shape. Place the shape on top of the adhesive, tapping it very gently into place. Dip your brush into the Mod Podge again and spread a layer over the whole of the shape, working from the centre out. The paper will retain some wrinkles, but brushing over the top helps to smooth it out and make sure it’s fully adhered to the surface.

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4. Add more paper shapes in the same way. I used the original print (it’s called Unikko) as a guide, but you might prefer to create your own, more random design instead. Allow the shapes to overhang when you reach the edges; the paper napkin pieces are very fragile while wet, and really prone to tearing.

TIP: If you do tear a piece as you’re working, the best thing to do is carefully remove it with a damp cloth or baby wipe before it dries, and try again.

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5. Once you’ve covered the whole piece, set it aside to dry, and then use a craft knife to carefully trim away excess paper from the edges. Tidy up any rough edges by gently rubbing with a fine-grit sandpaper or soft nail file.

6. To seal and protect the finished surface, brush on a couple of extra coats of decoupage medium or some clear varnish (matt or glossy, as preferred).

Marimekko stool (finished)

That’s it! Pretty straightforward, right? If you’re at all daunted by the size of the project, have a go at working on a smaller piece first. I used the same technique to decorate a couple of painted jam jars (you can find the project in Paperie). It’s a really inexpensive way to try out the idea before committing to something bigger.

I hope you might feel inspired to give your own napkin decoupage project a go, or maybe just to look at paper projects in a different way. Scrapbooking and card-making are fantastic, but the possibilities definitely don’t stop there!

And, if you want to know a bit more about Kirsty Neale herself, then take a read of the interview she did here on Tuesday 5th August. Next week, we have Emily, owner of Fawn and Peach, sharing an interview with us. You can catch Emily on Tuesday 12th August. 

A fresh start… ♥

Hello my lovely readers! I’m so sorry its been a while since my blog has seen some action. I can’t work out if its because life has passed me by, or life has been too busy. Either way, I’m back now and with awesome news!

For months, I’ve been desperate to create a pretty, eye catching, wonderfully inspiring blog. The first blog I ever made was on Freewebs when I was about nine (if I could call it a blog, it was more a page to share my girly obsessions! Oh wait…). Since then I have gone on a whirlwind with every blogging network possible. Luckily, WordPress has been my saving grace as I was definitely close to giving up! Also, working for someone else’s website, really gives you the blog bug! (Feel free to check out the lovely lady herself!)

So, what is this awesome news you ask? I guess its been since I last blogged, I’ve really had to think about where I want this to go and what I want to do with it. How do I make this different or my blog? Its so easy to route through other blogs and feel like yours is crap, or its terrible compared to theirs and think whats the point? Its always good to have healthy competition, but I got to the point where I thought mine would never be good enough to carry on. However, many words of encouragement from my boyfriend later, changed my way of thinking and I started to put plans into action! Why let talent go to waste right?

This is my new plan. Every month, starting in August, I will be having three guest bloggers! Two are covering specific topics, and one free reign! I shall be including my own inspiration related posts and more tutorials. Every guest blogger I feature, will have two slots. One day for an interview, the other to give us a tutorial on their chosen idea. Ideally, giving you a lovely connection!
I’m all about supporting other bloggers. The internet is a tough place, so sticking together is what I wish to do with everyone I meet and greet. If you wish to be a apart of this, please contact me here.

I don’t wish to give too much away, such as the topics and who I have planned so far, but I am really excited about where this is going and what could come of this. Fingers crossed everything goes to plan and, watch this space! Join me on August 8th with my first guest blogger. In the mean time, expect some stuff from myself.

Until then,

Happy Blogging!

 

 

 

It’s a… ♥

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Today I am doing something a little different. Today is ‘BLOG-HOP’ day! Last week, I got a lovely long email from Kirsty Neale, regarding taking part in this ‘blog-hop’.

What is a blog-hop? Well, its simply hopping around loads of different blogs every week, that have been personally invited to take part. Its such a wonderful way to get the blogging network connected, and to share such brilliant work! (Also, to meet new people and to keep blogging very much alive!) Yay for the blogging world!

You can check out the lovely lass that invited me, Kirsty Neale, on her blog Ginger And George. Kirsty has recently released a book, Hoop-La!: 100 things to do with embroidery hoops, which I had the absolute delight of working for and has an upcoming book due out in a few months time! Her work is very much ‘all things craft’ and is definitely for you if you believe in cute creatures and embroidery. You shall also find on there, her blog hop post, along with 3 other bloggers for you to check out. Its a very back & forth type thing, however I believe that adds to the fun!

I hope you have just as much fun following this round, as much as we have taking part! Below you will see the bloggers I invited, and I very much hope you will take the time to have a look, as they are all so wonderful and amazingly talented!

So, here we go…

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1. What am I Working On?

Currently, I am working on making an awesome career for myself! I can’t say I am doing some kind of HUGE project or working for a upcoming designer, because I’m simply not. (Unless, I count myself as the designer, then yes I am!)

I recently took on the challenge of making a dress, with a zip! Normally I skip all dress patterns that involve some kind of technical sewing. But, I wanted to push myself harder and thought a zip would be a good way to go… Can I get the zip in right? Of course not! Nevertheless, I shall not be defeated.

In September I shall be attending Bridalwear Summer School. My next, massive step into becoming a freelance Dressmaker! Until then, I shall be constantly working on my sketchbook and getting as much inspiration for my collections.

Over the last few months, I have done work for some really wicked people and I love that I’m constantly talking to new people from all over the world. You can look out for an article I did in the latest issue of ‘Mollie Makes’ magazine and please check out my previous work on www.shimelle.com.

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2.  How does my work differ from others of its genre? 

I always try to make my work stand out from the others out there. I always try to produce a unique creative solution; depending on the project. I constantly push myself to learn new skills so everything I do has my own touch on it.

I rarely settle on one style of work. I think thats what makes me stand out a little, every project I do, I do differently! Whether it be the photography/the style… I don’t see the point of sticking to one way of doing things as after a while, you get bored of it yourself – and thats not what you want!!

Over the last year, I have had the best teacher showing me the ways of the internet world! As well as showing me that you can do what you love, she’s taught me too learn as much as I want, teach as much as I can and proudly show it off however I wish!

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3. Why do I write/create what I do?

The same reason as anyone else who does something they love. I love doing it! I love everything about it. The process, the creating, the creation, the feeling of achievement and it getting recognised. The sharing part is definitely one of my favourites as you get a sense of pride and am like ‘yes! I made that!’.
Everything I make, I do because I want to. I may of seen it elsewhere and wish to re-create it or an idea pops into my head and I then turn it into something physical. Enjoyment definitely plays a massive part!

I’ve always know that THIS is what I want to do with my life. Being creative, hands on, bringing handmade goodness back to light, showing everyone that you don’t have to have a boring job to make a living! Whatever your dream job may be, make it happen.

The whole reason for doing this today, is not only to introduce you to my blog, but to show you other bloggers that I love and want to share! So, enough chatter now and I leave you with these three darling people.

imageAbigail Beach is a student studying at Durham University. She used to be a paper scrapbooker but with the demands of a student life and budget she has turned to digital memory keeping. She loves documenting the everyday, rejoicing in the ordinary and trying out all sorts of crafts. She writes about this at Creating Paper Dreams. You can also find her on Instagram as @abibeach.

image Anna Fazakerley is dotty about crochet, jewellery making, sewing and more. She love to design and crafting is an extension of that. Anna is constantly adding to her list of things to make and learn. Blogging about crafty life is a great way to document the journey to look back on. You can check out her blog, Dotty Doily & follow her on twitter.

image Lindsey Portas lives and grew up in Essex with her family and creates her work in her extremely cluttered bedroom. She studied BA (Hons) Printed Textile Design at the University of East London and is graduating in November. She now hopes to find a job within the printed textile design industry whether it specialises in digital print design or screen printed design. Please check out Lindsey’s website where you can find her blog, twitter and pinterest.

You can see their ‘blog-hop’ posts on Monday 9th June. Make sure not to miss out! 

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Weekly Event: Pick Me Up! ♥

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This Saturday (3/5/14) I got taken to a ‘Pick Me Up‘ – a Graphic Arts Festival. As I am not a graphic designer myself, it was nice to see for myself what it truly is and to discover new artists.

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The exhibition was based in Somerset House, Londons host to a whole variety of wonders from film festivals to ice skating. This festival ran over a course of three weeks with different events happening every day and weekend. Some days would host workshops for budding designers, talks for the studying designer and always members around for the people who don’t know much when it comes to graphic design aka, me.

The day I went was the start of ‘Childrens Weekend’ & I worried that it would be full of children creating havoc, high on paint fumes and wacky drawings – luckily, I was proved wrong. There was still a very ‘adult’ atmosphere and at no point did I feel like I didn’t belong.
Some exhibitions you go to, you can feel a divide between people and I’m normally the person staring at a painting with a thoughtful face, when in actual fact I have no idea what I’m looking at. Everyone seemed very welcoming and up to talk to you if you had any questions or thoughts.

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I really felt it was a great exhibition. It certainly wasn’t boring. The amount of colour that surrounded you definitely put you in a happy bubble.
I think what made this exhibition stand out, was the fact that as well as being able to look and observe artists work, some artists would want you to get involved with letterpress machines or let you watch them work. You wasn’t restricted by barriers or have security guards watching over you, you felt completely free to really get involved and take a closer look at what was in front of you.

Over one floor were lines of stools with the artists work and the artist themselves. The variety of creativity stood out brilliantly. You could pay to get a drawing done of yourself by a ‘mystery artist’ in a photobooth, or have a photo taken in cardboard cut out frames; all designed by the designers themselves. And most importantly, a cute tea/cake part in the middle, to rest your bursting imagination.

It definitely was an eye opener for me. There is no limits when it comes to design and if you have an idea, create it how you want it. Every style is different and its constantly evolving. Don’t Hold Back!

 

Is it really February already?

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I haven’t done anything on here for a while as the creative side of me went into ‘shutdown’ mode 😦 However, I’m hoping that by writing it out on here will help it come alive again!
As soon as it hit the 1st January 2014, I made a note to myself to ‘keep the creative juices flowing!!’ But its now February and I’ve done nothing crafty whatsoever. Sigh.

One of my New Years Resolutions was to sew a garment once a month. It could be anything from a baby garment to an adult! Mentally I was ready for this, however my bank balance wasn’t. I think the most frustrating thing in dressmaking is how expensive fabric/buttons/zips are and you end up thinking ‘its cheaper to just buy the garment already made!’ but there is no enjoyment in that or satisfaction, yet its ten times easier! And we all know, time is a massive issue with dressmaking. Before Christmas I found a dress I SO wanted to create and design and to be honest, I’d still love to do it! This is the dress here: http://merchantandmills.com/products/patterns/the-camber-set-pattern/. When you look at it, you see it isn’t anything extravagant but its such a versatile dress! It can be worn evening or daytime and a pattern you know will always be handy to have. My idea for it was a mustard coloured, checkered design fabric, for a 90s punkish look. I absolutely love Merchant and Mills, due to their simplicity, vintage style patterns. Maybe I can commit to it in a few months, but right now its staying on my wish list!

Are there any projects you’re struggling with or NYR you haven’t kept? Send me an ask! as I’d love to talk about them with you 🙂

Alice
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I have found finding the perfect Christmas cards really HARD this year! There either too expensive, too traditional or hardly get any in one pack making it not worth it. However, a little while ago I bought a pack of 50 scalloped shaped cards with envelopes and thought what a better time to use them!

All I used are scrapbook embellishments, patterned paper and stamps/ink. Once I got into the swing of it I found it really fun and got more ‘crafty’ on each card.

The only thing I would change is maybe using current paper trends and designing them before hand (planning a theme!)

Support homemade crafts this year and give out something personal 🙂