The Make it Sewcial Meet up part 2... capturing the magic May 21 2015

Hey lovelies!

Nice to see you again so soon, I'm guessing you're here to soak up more of the Make it Sewcial magic?... Yay, good stuff :) because you are in for a real treat!

The super lovely Kat (one half of team Blogtacular ) was there for the whole event, crafting, making, chatting and inspiring all the lovely people with her colourful, happy and bubblicious charm! In between doing all of that lovely lot, she snapped lots of amazing pictures too! Like this one... naughty Mr C was saying something very funny here! 

 

 

And this one... I think this is what happiness looks like!

 

 

And ALL of these... I'm not going to say anymore, right until the end of this post, because this time the pictures are enough to tell the beautiful story ... relax, enjoy and get lost in the magic and details of a wonderful day! 

 

 

Hooray! there we go sweet lovelies! how gorgeous was that? hopefully you'll feel like you've experienced a part of it even if you weren't there! And full marks to me for not talking my way through any of it... I think the pictures say it all don't you?

Thanks to the best creative space in Birmingham, Impact Hub, for providing the perfect venue and thanks again Kat for doing an amazing job, we can relive the magic all over again through your wonderful photos, at least until the next Make it Sewcial Meet up, which could be popping up in a town near you, watch this space for more details coming soon... Oh and here's part 1 if you want to read it too. 

Big love for now 

Allison x x x 

 

 

 


The Make it Sewcial Meet up part 1... A dream come true May 20 2015

Hello lovelies!

On Saturday a very special dream of mine came true, one that I've been thinking about and planning for a long time, a dream of a beautiful community of like minded crafters, makers and creatives, all coming together to inspire each other to make 'their' dreams come true too, whatever they may be. 

A dream that would bring the #makeitsewcial hashtag to life, through organising a real live event. A dream that will support, encourage and enable creatives to live a handmade lifestyle too. 

 

 

I know .. I know, there's a whole lotta dreaming going on there, but dreams are magical things don't you think?... especially when you actually turn them into reality and all of the pretty pictures and colours and happy thoughts you've been thinking of for ages and ages actually come true!

Fifty fellow makers from all over the country, London, Devon, Essex, Newcastle, Manchester, Norfolk, Malvern, Bristol, Northampton and more were quick to book the 50 places on offer, I could have doubled that number and filled the beautiful Impact Hub space twice over. 

 

 

It really is almost impossible to put into words the joy and happiness that was felt on Saturday... but I'll let you into a little secret, all of my guests (yep, all 50 of them) may have seen me shed a tear or two, happy tears of course! so its all good! I'll do my best not to get too gushy all over again and try and let the gorgeous pictures do the talking! (well, we'll see how I go, I've never managed to keep quiet before, especially when I'm feeling this happy and excited!) 

 

 

No Make it Sewcial Meet up would be complete without sweet things and treats and I love to spoil my guests and make them feel really special, and apparently love hearts, flying saucers and marshmallows are very good for your creativity ... well, it always works wonders for me! :)

Then of course there's the styling of the venue, my faaaaavourite bit, I had so much fun making all the props and decorations for the day! paper poms poms, garlands, bunting, pennants and heart shaped confetti ... just so much pretty! to quote the lovely Amy "I had such a wonderful time, It was like the best children's party, for adults I've ever been too" tee hee, what a result! love it when a plan comes together! 

 

 

 And then there was cake, lots of it! I'm so proud of lil miss for making this one, the prettiest, sprinkliest cake, I ever did see... even the shade of pink was just right, I can't imagine where she gets her attention to detail from! We may have eaten cute mini donuts and drank lots of cocktails too... juicy ones to begin .. the rum came later ;)  'oops, not doing a very good job of being quiet now am I! 

 

 

Then there was the creative stuff... we had crafting and knitting and biz chat and sewing and pom pom makers and happy beads, we didn't just enjoy ourselves eating all the cake and drinking all the cocktails, we made loads of stuff too! Oh and I love how the gorgeous Kat painted her nails to match the colour theme! It's all in the details!

 

 

We also had a table full of beautiful flowers from Pollen floral Joy to make pretty posies... 

 

 

Then there was the conversation and sharing of ideas... and a whole load of following of Instagram accounts too, WE HEART INSTAGRAM, none of this would have been possible before this lovely community came together through that magic hashtag #makeitsewcial and a series of pretty photos in squares! It was such a pleasure to meet all the lovely people who live in my phone in real life!

 

 

More happy people... wearing their creations and embracing the mantra!

 

 

And another delicious cake too good not too share, even the chocolate buttons and flag cake toppers were handmade! 

 

 

Then after a busy day of creating, we went on a lovely photo walk, who knew that jumping around with giant balloons in front of colourful painted walls could be so much fun? all the giggles and all the laughter, the letting go, being a bit silly and pretending like nobody's watching was such good tonic to feed the soul and fill your heart up. 

 

 

Look, I even managed to grab Mr C for a quick photo too... I think he was a teeny weeny bit shy bless, he's such a sweetheart! 

 

 

And there we have it, the first ever Make it Sewcial Meet up really was the best day ever, a day full of inspiration, crafting, making, laughter, learning, smiles, sharing, joy and happiness, all brought together to celebrate this amazing creative handmade community.

Thank you to everyone who came along and help made it happen, bye bye birdie for her biz chat, Sewist for supervising the sewing machines and obsessive crochet disorder and her buddy for getting nifty with the knitting needles and an extra big thank you goes out to Impact Hub for providing the best venue in Birmingham. Oh, I mustn't forget to thank Mr C and my lovely little family too for EVERYTHING, they really really are the best! 

The good news is, the dream doesn't end here... It was such an amazing day, I can't wait to do it all over again and I'm already planning the next part of the Make it Sewcial journey, I hope you'll be joining me too?... or if you're thinking about organising your own event, I'll be here to help you make it happen. Oh and don't forget to join me again soon for part 2 of the Meet up story... capturing the magic, with pretty pics snapped by the gorgeous Kat

Big love for now

Allison x x x 

 

 

 

 


How to style your brand... by Fiona Humberstone May 19 2015

Hello lovelies!

I'm so happy you've joined me for my first ever book review, especially as I've been looking forward to this one for sometime! Can you imagine my joy when I got an email from the lovely lady herself asking me to be a part of the official 'blog book tour' thrilled, happy and excited is an understatement!

 

 

I was lucky enough to meet Fiona at an event in London last year and instantly fell in love with her work, passion and enthusiasm for creative business. I've been a fan ever since and an avid reader of her beautiful blog too, It's always so exciting when her newsletter lands in my inbox as I can guarantee she will be sharing something special that never fails to inspire me.

I think it's worth noting here that with countless online resources available at our finger tips such as Instagram, Pinterest, twitter and a wealth of pretty blogs all actively fuelling our imagination, It can be difficult to find the time to sit and read a book, well my lovely friends, I suggest you put your phones down, turn your computers off, pop the kettle on and make the time for this one, it will absolutely be worth it ... and here's why... 

 

 

The language is so simple... 

This is a bestselling book about business that doesn't use fancy jargon and big words that you won't understand, there are no hard and fast rules to frighten you off before you've begun and the narrative is easy going and flows at a lovely pace to take you on a creative journey that suits you. I love that you can dip in and out of the chapters to enjoy the content that works best for the different stages of your business, after all, I believe its about enjoying the process as much as the end result, I'm so glad Fiona agrees too! 

 

 

The visuals are pleasing...  

It's no surprise that I'm attracted as much by the visuals as I am the content as I'm sure most of you will be too, and the gorgeous pictures in this book won't disappoint you. Unfussy, uncluttered, clean and calm, the imagery instantly makes you feel at home and comfortable when you flick through the pages. The colour palette is soft and reassuring and the photography will 'inspire' you without dictating how 'your' story should look. It's a very clever book that manages to give you all of the beautiful details without overwhelming you, leaving enough room for you to have the freedom to explore your own ideas too. Yup ... it does all of these magical things and more! 

The message and ethos... 

are very clear, through sharing her wealth of knowledge and years of experience working with brands all over the world, Fiona helps you to unravel your thoughts .. to find the focus to fulfil your inspirational vision, while providing you with the tools and clarity to create a beautiful brand that is distinctively you. An ethos I share and have lived by throughout my 20 plus years of running my own creative business and a message I promote and encourage my readers to live by too. 

 

 

My favourite bits...

Would it be ok if I said "all of it" seriously, I've looked through this book several times and there really isn't anything I don't like about it, and after all these years of being my own boss, I'm not easily impressed by your average run of the mill business books, but this one is different, It has an energy running through it that will ignite your creativity, spark your entrepreneurial senses and fire up your passion ready to take your game plan to a whole new level. 

 

 

I guess if I had to pick just one real highlight it would be the 'Colour Psychology' your secret weapon, as a lady who lives and loves a very colourful lifestyle this section resonates with me the most (It has nothing to do with wearing certain colours that suit your skin tone, shudder shudder, thats not my bag at all) its much more about telling your story using colour to reflect your personality. In fact Fiona runs a workshop all about this and one day I'm going to take some time out, just for me and I'm going to spoil myself and book a place! I love how you can use colour emotionally to set a mood and tone, so this is definitely an area I would like to explore some more. 

 

 

One more teaser you say?... Oh, go on then, I love 'styling it up' too! in this section you'll find essential tips to help make your brand look polished and professional and there are also good examples from small business owners showing you how they've achieved amazing results too. its the perfect finish to a pretty awesome book.

I could go on and on sharing all of the best bits, but if I've whet your appetite with these tempting teasers or you're thinking of starting up a new blog or venture or you just simply want to breathe a new lease of life into an already existing business, then this is the book for you.

 

 

I hope you've enjoyed reading my first book review as much as I've enjoyed writing it, if you want to follow the rest of the blog tour this week then head on over to We are Branch Weds 20th for the next instalment or you can buy a copy here 

And finally to say a big thank you to a very inspirational lady for inviting me to share her work here, I feel very honoured to be a part of the tour for a book thats currently a number one best seller! Congratulations Fiona! 

big love

Allison x 

 

 

 


The Make it Sewcial Meet Up May 11 2015

Hello lovelies!

As you probably already know if you follow me over on Instagram, I've spent the past few weeks organising the FIRST EVER MAKE IT SEWCIAL MEET UP EVENT!!! 

 

 

I'm shouting because I'm ridiculously excited and so happy that I'm actually making this happen... its been a little dream of mine for a long time and finally this Saturday, I will be bringing some of this gorgeous community together for a full day of creative loveliness! Yup ... I will actually get to meet some of the lovely people who live in my phone in real life! How amazing is that?..

 

 

When I started the Make it Sewcial hashtag a year and a half ago, I had a head full of ideas of what I wanted it to be ... celebrating creativity and bringing a community together were right at the heart of my plans. I wanted to share all of my experiences of living and loving a handmade lifestyle, to support, inspire, encourage and motivate my fellow crafters, makers and wannabe creatives to live a handcrafted life they love too. 

 

 

And with the help of social media and Instagram, the magic is happening and my little plan is coming together nicely, this Saturdays Meet Up in Birmingham will hopefully be the first of many more to come.

They'll be crafting and making, cake eating and cocktails, chatting, giggles and lots of photo taking ... well it wouldn't be a proper Meet up if we didn't snap lots of lovely pictures! You can look forward to seeing them all here next week. 

 

 

Wish you were coming too?... so do I, but there's no need to miss out on all the fun, you might not be able to hot foot it to the Birmingham get-together, but wherever you are in the world you can organise your 'own' Make it Sewcial Meet up because I've created an Organisers pack specially for you!

Its full of tips and ideas to help you create your event and I've even provided cute printables so you can make your space look pretty too! I know, I know, I like to spoil you!

All you've got to do is be brave, promote it through your social media and blogs, gather your crafty locals and bingo, you've got yourself a party! and remember to use the magic hashtags that connect us all together #makeitsewcial #makeitsewcialmeetup 

Interested? Drop me an email at allisonsadler1@gmail.com and I'll send you everything you need to start planning you day. 

 

Right, for now it's time for me to crack on with my 'to do list' its as tall as me and I'm adding to it as quickly as I'm ticking the jobs off!  Oh ... and if you see me bouncing around this week like an over excited kid at Christmas, it might just be because I've got a tummy full of butterflies and I'm a teeny weeny bit nervous .. eek, wish me luck, I think I'm gonna need it! 

big love

Allison x x x

 

 

 

 


Maker of the week ... byebyebirdie. May 01 2015

Hello sweet lovelies and welcome to another Maker of the week!

I am absolutely thrilled and excited to share this one with you, as this super talented lady happens to be one of my most favourite makers in the whole world and I'm lucky enough to have her as one of my best friends too! I love the way she thinks about life, I love her limitless creativity and I LOVE how she is 100% true to herself and her brand.

Here's her lovely story... 

Tell me a little bit more about you? ...

Hello! I’m Carol.  I am a designer and maker, and the owner of a little label called byebyebirdie.



And where are you based?

I have a small workroom/studio space in my home in Birmingham, England. I love the flexibility this gives [the brilliantly short commute and the late night pyjama-wearing sewing sessions] but stock and fabric supplies are beginning to spread beyond my work space.  So the search will soon be on for a new home for byebyebirdie!



What lovely things do you make?

A range of clothes, gifts, prints and cushions for little ones aged 0-2 years.  All beautifully British [wherever possible I use British-made fabrics and supplies], lovingly handmade and hand printed to order. 


And where do you sell your products?


I have my own online shop, I also sell through ETSY [which is great for international customers] and Down That Little Lane [mainly for customers in Australia/New Zealand].


What inspires you?

I’m at my most inspired when I’m sat in front of a clean white piece of paper,  with a black pen [never blue!], a good podcast [lovebeingboss.com is a current favourite] and a good strong cup of tea.  I sketch, scribble and doodle until I start to see the shape of an idea and then I get making.



What are the pros and cons of running a creative business?

After 4 years being my own boss, I've come to the conclusion that the pros and cons are the same.  The biggest pro is the flexibility it gives.  The ability to set my own hours, work around the family, take time out when needed is such a gift.  Similarly, the biggest con is that same flexibility.  The lack of structured work hours can mean – during really busy times, particularly on the run up to Christmas – some very long hours at the sewing machine and very little time away from work.   But I wouldn’t have it any other way!  Having worked for many years as a Brand Manager in a variety of Corporate roles, I wouldn’t give up the freedom I have, the flexibility or the opportunity to push my creativity for any 9-5 job.  Life is simply too short.

And do you have any advice, words of wisdom for anyone starting out?


My three top tips for someone starting out would be …

Don’t be afraid to start small.  Some of the most successful stores on ETSY and ‘Not On The High Street’  sell just a few, beautifully designed, and lovingly made products.

Don’t get caught up in what other designer/makers in your marketplace are doing.  Create what is true to your style, what comes from the heart.  Be brilliant at your thing, not a poor imitation of someone elses.

Ask for help/learn something new every day.  There is an amazing community of makers out there – and everyone has tips, hacks and shortcuts that can help you through the early days of a new business venture.  Allison’s fabulous #makeitsewcial community is a brilliant example of this.  Also, Google is your friend.  Anything you don’t know and need to know, from SEO basics, to how best to wrap a parcel for international delivery .. it’s all out there!  



And finally, what are your hopes and dreams for the future?

I have no idea what the future holds but I do know that I'm excited about it.  I plan to still be my own boss in 10 years time.  If that’s running byebyebirdie then great, if not then that’s fine too.  So long as I wake up every morning, excited to get to work then that’s all that’s important to me.

My dream is a common one.  Me and my lovely family tucked up in a quiet little house, living by the sea.   Now, that would be perfection!

Me again! See ... I told you she was an absolute sweetheart! If you want to follow more of her lovely story and spoil yourself with pictures of her gorgeous baby products, beautiful home and delicious cakes, then head on over to Instagram, I promise you won't be disappointed!

Keep on making lovely people! 

big love

Allison x x x 

 

 

 


creamy lemon dessert April 29 2015

hey lovelies! 

It is almost impossible for me to let the Spring season pass without sharing my all time favourite dessert. I blogged the recipe last Spring and will probably blog it again next Spring. It really is that good.

 

From the moment you start zesting and juicing the lemons, your kitchen will fill with the fragrance of Spring, then add those citrusy juices to the cream and I guarantee you'll find it impossible not to lick the spoon and then the bowl! 

That is of course after you've smothered the delicious crunchy, buttery biscuit base with the lemony cream ... sold yet?... here's the recipe 

I hope you enjoy this Springtime pud as much as I do and it becomes a family favourite in your house too, I'm off to steal another slice out of the fridge (I can hear it calling out my name from the kitchen!) 

happy baking!

Allison x x x 


Make it Sewcial... simple paper garland April 27 2015

hello lovlies! good to see you again :) 

I don't seem to get as much time as I would like to these days to share tutorials as I'm always busy working on other projects, but today, I was trying out my new toy and couldn't resist sharing it with you!

 

Here it is, a giant craft punch that cuts giant circles! well they're not quite that big but they're much bigger than your average hole punch! Each circle measures a whopping 3" or 8cm if you're not old fashioned like me ;)  

 

 

Whoopie, isn't it lovely?... I've been lusting after one of these bad boys for ages ... seriously, I've been known to sit up till the wee small hours of the morning cutting a million circles for paper garlands with a pair of scissors! I know, this is crazy when a nifty little gadget like this exists in your local craft store! I loved it so much, I may have bought a heart shaped one too!

 

 

Imagine all the lovely things you can create with these... cards, gift tags, labels, name badges, all sorts of gorgeousness, I,m trying out a garland first as I use these all the time in my styling shots and for window displays at the shop too.

Three simple steps is all it takes, and here they are : 

1) choose some pretty paper or light weight card works well too, then cut enough circles to make you happy

 

 

2) turn your circles over and attach a piece of clear thread or string with some washi tape - you could stitch through your circles too if you have enough time to get the sewing machine out.

 

 

3) find a lovely spot to hang your garland on the wall, or you could drape them over picture frames and mirrors or try hanging lots of them vertically in a window

 

 

I promise, once you've started punching holes, you'll be making a ton of pretty paper garlands and hanging them everywhere that needs a pop of colour! Don't forget to share pictures with my over on IG if you do! 

happy making lovelies

Allison x x x 

 


Easter Spring posy... March 31 2015

Hello lovelies!

The sunshine is still teasing us at the moment but luckily we have an abundance of Spring flowers readily available to us, to brighten up our homes. 

And with Easter just around the corner, its the perfect time to decorate and have some fun with your floral displays... open your crockery cupboards and raid your vintage china, anything that can hold water will make arranging your flowers more interesting, I mean why just pop them in a vase when you can be a little more creative and arrange them in vintage teacups instead?... so much nicer! 

I took my regular Tuesday morning trip to the flower market today and came back with these...

Pretty pink tulips, ranunculus, delicate wax flower, some eucalyptus to add some greenery and must have Spring time yellow daffodils! I like to mix them all up to make a really cute posy. 

And then I spent a lovely afternoon filling 'teacups' and little jugs with all the pretty blooms and dotting the displays all around my home. Instant sunshine in every room! 

Even if it is grey, wet and windy outside! 

Sometimes you have to just create your own sunshine ... in a teacup! 

big love for now lovelies

Allison x 

 

 


Make it Sewcial... more than just a hashtag March 27 2015

And Make it Sewcial Mondays encourages us all to do just that! 

I started this hashtag around a year and half ago and the community that now surrounds it is a beautiful thing, it's growing stronger and stronger every week and reaching more and more creatives all over the world 'inspiring them to M A K E and to get creative whatever their chosen craft. 

 

While the crafting and making is at the heart of this community there is something much much bigger than that happening, making ALL of this so special... 

Here's what some of my fellow makers over on Instagram had to say... 

Sewist 53 

Make it Sewcial starts my week off with an enormous smile, I look forward to it and plan a project for it. It means that I meet, chat to and get encouragement and support from fellow makers, crafters and people who don't think I'm a bit weird because a beautiful piece of fabric makes me expire with orgasmic delight!! The people in our community make Mondays magical. They inspire with their wonderful ideas, help out when you have a problem and most of all they celebrate, celebrate and celebrate every success with you, every tiny step along the way.

It feels so good when someone says "well done" and also when you can say "yay" for someone else. This community is bound up, watched over, lead, inspired and tied up with an enormous pink (pastel this season!) bow by the wonderful, ceaseless energy that is Allison Sadler - she brings us all this and she puts her heart and soul into it all. 

Amelie and Richard 

Our minds and imagination never stop. This family is constantly on the go, dreaming up new things, new recipes, new adventures, thats us ... constantly absorbing stuff like a colony of sponges. Cue Allison Sadler - this lady is dynamite. Her creative mind is nearly as crazy as ours and she channels this arts and crafts energy in her hashtag #makeitsewcial. If you are a maker, creator, this is the place to showcase your work and to get inspired and meet equally creative souls . It's not a knit and bitch circle, it's uber creative souls who paint, draw, yarn artists and dress makers.

We believe in handmade. Factory made and mass produced makes us sad beyond belief. This is the way forward. It encourages artisan crafts and locally made individuality. So don't be shy, show off your creations when Allison opens the doors again. 

It is full of Inspiration! We have learned so much from all of these creative souls and Allison is just beautiful, check out her blog too... 

Ceramic Magpie 

The lovely Allison Sadler hosts the #makeitsewcial hashtag as well as having a fabulous shop in Kings Heath selling clothes and beautiful items for the home. She organises great networking and inspirational Instagram chats on a Monday evening. I love these chats as you always learn something new and you end them feeling empowered to make and to be more creative. 

Rebekah's Attic

I've been a crafter for as long as I can remember, but only recently started sharing my crafting with the world and specifically through the lens of Instagram. It was scary and I've doubted myself and my crafts many times, but there's one thing my craft loving friends that's made the journey easier and more fun and that is the lovely Allison Sadler and Make it Sewcial. 

If you don't follow her, you really should! Such a friendly community that gathers behind her and offers such wonder support to us littlies. 

The Cali jemo collective 

I've just started following Allison Sadler and I'm grateful that there are so many creative and talented people out there helping to keep keep creative dreams alive. The world needs love... and it also needs Make it Sewcial. 

Mrs Daft Spaniel

Mondays are the best day of the week for me due to Allison Sadler's Make it Sewcial hashtag! It's lovely to look through pics of what everyone is making and to take time to post my own work. 

Claireabellemakes 

The gorgeous Allison Sadler is the lady behind Make it Sewcial where makers can come together and share their creativity. It is a wonderfully inspiring community and I love looking through the hashtag feed each week

Sweet Sharna

Mondays are my favourite day of the week now, thanks to the lovely Allison Sadler. I can't go without not making and posting something I've made on Make it Sewcial Monday. Its amazing how many talented people join in, the range of crafts I see each week is incredible and highly motivating. I've met so many friendly people through Make it Sewcial and I love guessing who Allison will pick as Maker of the week. 

Me again!

Wow! See why I wanted to share all of this loveliness with you guys?..  Make it Sewcial is creating all kinds of magic and is so much more than a hashtag, its changed the way we start our week, that's pretty awesome stuff don't you think?... 

Its Inspiring, encouraging and motivational, its connecting a community of creatives together to support one another, its making people smile and feel good, its opening up happy conversations ... it's making a real difference to people's lives. it is ALL of the things I wanted it to be and millions more. 

Thanks to everyone who shared a comment and for all the lovely compliments too, you sure know how to make a girl feel loved :) keep on making and creating beautiful people and sharing all of this magic with the rest of the world. And if you know anyone who creates stuff .. and hasn't joined in yet .. give 'em a nudge, you might make Monday the happiest day of the week for them too!

Allison x x x 

 

 

 


curating an online collection... March 21 2015

Hello lovelies!

Just a little teaser of what you can look forward to from our new online collection, launching next week. Eek! 

 

 

Curating our collection is a huge job, it takes weeks and weeks of planning and organising, especially if you have to design and make the clothing first like me and mr C do! we've been super busy doing all of these things as well as sourcing lots of gorgeous goodies to sell in our online store. I think we are 'finally' getting there...

 

 

Yesterday the sun shone especially for us and we spent the whole day photographing this lovely girl... a whole lotta pictures later and we are ready to edit all of the beautiful things to share with you guys next week. Hope you're as excited as we are!

big love for now 

Allison x x x 

 

 


Maker of the week... Blossom and Bear March 20 2015

hello my friends! 

back again for another Maker of the week story?... lovely :) here you go, welcome to the sweet and gorgeous Blossom and Bear. 


Tell me a little more about you ...

Hello! I'm Sarah- maker behind Blossom and Bear, mum of two gorgeous little people and wife to the lovely Danny


And where are you based?...

I lived in beautiful Bath up until a few months ago, when we decided to become city cats and up and moved to Bristol (just down the road really!) I am loving city life, Bristol is a very creative city with so much to explore!

I work from home around looking after my 2 and 3 year old... When they nap I make! My craft room is a work in progress but should be finished fairly soon.

My little girl often sets up her own little shop around me and pretends she is making things to sell- it's very cute.


What lovely things do you make?


Mainly things for little ones and their Mummas, but also some home items and illustrations and prints for everyone.


And where do you sell your products?

I sell on my online shop www.blossomandbear.com and you can also find me on etsy. I'm about to start selling on Not On The High Street too which is very exciting!


What inspires you? 


I am inspired by the everyday- little things people say, song lyrics, flowers, the outdoors, moments at home with my children, beautiful pictures and inspiration found on instagram and pinterest, kind words, memories.

My biggest inspiration comes from my friends, my family and my faith.. without the encouragement I get from these I don't feel I'd have the confidence to put myself out there as a maker.


Do you have any advice to makers just starting out?

Be yourself! You are wonderful and there is no one else like you. It's so easy to compare ourselves with others, but it doesn't do us any favours.

Don't wait until you have a perfect product- It can be really scary putting yourself out there but there are lots of places where people can encourage and support you. I look back at some of the things I made a year ago and cringe - but I know it's a process and the only way I can get better is to keep creating! Work hard and Have fun!


And finally, what are your hopes and dreams for the future of your business?

I would LOVE to have my own bricks and mortar shop one day with a workshop out the back to screenprint and make in. I'd love to grow my business to a point where I can help people out of poverty. Blossom and bear is about to start supporting small businesses through deki.org.uk to empower people living in poverty, so that feels like a small step in the right direction.

And heres the lovely Sarah with her beautiful daughter! 


I've been following Sarah for a while now over on Instagram (and Mr C bought me one her lovely prints too!) and I'm really looking forward to seeing her business grow into something super special and I'm even more excited because we will be selling a small selection of the Blossom and Bear range at The People shop very soon! Eeek! Thanks again Sarah for sharing your Maker story, your work is just adorable. 

See you again soon sweeties, keep on making and sharing the handmade love!

Allison x x x 

growing an online audience... March 19 2015

On Tuesday night I was invited by Amy Rozel Martin to talk about social media at BOM Lab - Birmingham Open Media, it's a new creative space for art, technology and science.  

The drop in sessions are part of a series of how to's for young people pursuing creative careers. 


The Bom Lab opened a few months ago and it was my very first visit, I loved the open space, the light and the relaxed atmosphere, the exposed pipes, untreated woodwork and minimal furnishings added to the industrious look and laid back vibe of the place. Its the perfect venue for artists, tech types, photographers, illustrators and anyone interested in doing their creative thing to hang out. 



I got to hang out with these guys and share a few top tips on how to build your online audience.

As you well know, social media has become a big part of my life, so its no surprise that I could have talked about it all night... I had 20 minutes, I managed it in just under 40 :) not too bad.

In this blog post I wanted to share my top 5 tips on how you can make social media work for you too, here goes... I hope you find them useful.  

FIND YOUR COMFORT ZONE you cannot be master of them all - some will feel nicer and easier than others and thats ok, take the time to pick your plot, plant your seeds, water them regularly, talk to them from time to time and watch your followers grow at a strong healthy pace from the roots right up to the blossoming flowers reaching for the beautiful sunshine, (blimey, not sure where that came from, who knew I could be so poetic!) anyways, back to it :) enjoy the place that suits you best and feels the most natural, that way It shouldn't feel like too much of a chore to nurture it often. 

CONSIDER IT WORK and make time for it in your daily schedule, unless of course you're mostly online to chat to friends or play candy crush, then you can please yourself! but if you want to take it seriously and you want to build a following for work or networking purposes, then you will need to dedicate some time to it to do it well. Oh, and don't feel guilty, who knows what opportunities are waiting for you after that next tweet. 

BE CONSISTENT and share the same story on ALL platforms (not literally because that would just be boring) but remember that whatever message you are sending out, be sure to give it some continuity so that it flows smoothly and seamlessly through ALL channels, there is no point doing a wonderful job of sharing all the pretty pics over on Instagram if you are constantly moaning about the price of petrol and bad mouthing Aunty Brenda over on Facebook. That absolutely will not do, your followers are always watching you remember! 

MAKE GENUINE CONNECTIONS with the right people. Ok. If you were stood in a crowded room, you wouldn't click with everybody now would you? you wouldn't have time to have meaningful conversation with all the people and you wouldn't want to because it wouldn't be lovely and nice, so why try and do it online... use your precious time to connect with the people you care about, its so much nicer than networking for networking sake and in return, hopefully you will be rewarded with some long lasting honest relationships. 

SHOW THEM SOME LOVE and keep them coming back for more. If someone takes the time to follow you, like you, leave you lovely comments then its up to you to make them feel special, for goodness sake TALK TO THEM, unless you're Madonna or Will.i.am there is absolutely no excuse for ignoring people. I know its impossible to reply to every single solitary comment especially as your numbers grow, but all I'm saying is try your absolute best to respond. Its called 'social' media for a reason. 


And finally, this isn't in my top 5 btw, but just a reminder to enjoy it and have fun, if you're having a good time, it will show and those followers will come flocking by the dozen!

big love for now
Allison x x x 

my living room makeover... March 14 2015

hello loves!

Just wanted to share a few pics of my lovely living room as it was. Yes... I'm about to change ALL the things. 

Eek. Eek. Eek. 

I'm nervous because I've loved this space for a very long time and enjoyed creating and styling every inch of its colourful floral vintagey loveliness and I'm super excited because the stylist in me gets a huge buzz about changing ALL the things. 

In some ways this space is harder to change because over the past two or three years it has become an almost iconic room in my home. I've shared countless beautiful pics of it over on Instagram (and it always gets a million likes!) well not quite, but my followers love this room ALOT, it has popped up all over Pinterest, been featured on several design and interior blogs and even graced the cover of Mollie Makes Home magazine with a ten page feature inside. See, I told you it was pretty special! Please do excuse this rather tired looking photo, its an oldie, I haven't taken any pics of this space for awhile, I guess because I'm feeling tired off it too.

Take a look at it here instead, in all its lovely glory shot by a professional interiors photographer. 

 

I've loved this space forever but its definitely time to move on and to embrace all the changes I'm feeling inside. A new colour palette, a different vibe, a change of mood and the best bit, gathering all the lovely new things to make it feel gorgeous all over again, ahhh I'm so ready! 

I can't help but feel a teeny weeny tiny bit sad though as I take each floral picture down and remember the magic of finding each one like a piece of treasure at a car boot sale or charity shop, then the excitement of racing home to add it to my collection, I'm hoping to have these moments of joy all over again re-styling this space.

Heres a sneaky peak of whats to come ...

Brown things I hear you gasp' ha ha, don't worry my friends, I still love all the colourful things too but this just feels so right. I've been drifting this way for a while and I've already created this look in the other part of my lounge (remember, the vinyl and G&T zone?) now its time to let the changes happen, to flow completely through the rest of the house.

I'll be back soon sharing some more photos of the makeover as it takes shape, hopefully over the next few days. 

big love for now lovelies

Allison x x x 

 

 


Maker of the week... Apartment Apothecary March 13 2015

Hello lovely people! ready for another Maker story?... good stuff :)

let me introduce you to Katy, the lovely creative talent behind Apartment Apothecary

I first met Katy at Blogtacular last year and have been following her work over on Instagram ever since. I love how she mixes styling, crafting, making and interiors so beautifully together and the fact that she uses some of the prettiest Liberty fabrics in her makes, had me totally smitten! 

So tell me a little bit more about you?

Hi there! My name is Katy and I write Apartment Apothecary, an interiors and craft blog. I used to be a secondary school teacher until I gave it all up last year to follow my dream of working in the world of interiors. I have been obsessed with interiors since I was 11 years old when my parents let me decorate my bedroom; I think I have probably re-decorated every year since!

And where are you based? 

I have always been based in London and I live in Bermondsey with my partner, Jules and our puppy, Otto. When I made the leap into full time blogging and freelance writing and styling, I did a room makeover, turning our guest room into a home office (my mother-in-law was not pleased!). It is a really motivating space as it is bright white and so light. There is a huge desk in the middle of the room so I can have blissful sewing or crafting days. I also have little crafting sessions with friends in this space.


What do you make?

When I began my blog two years ago, I had not crafted since I was a child. One of the first things I did was an introduction to sewing course and within a few months I had done a couple of guest sewing tutorials for the Liberty of London blog, which was the most exciting thing to ever happen to me!! I now do a lot of sewing tutorials for magazines. Almost everything I sew is for the home as the idea of being able to custom make something for my own home, for a fraction of what I could buy it in the shops, was one of the main reasons I wanted to learn to sew.

I also do really simple DIY projects for my blog and again, they are all things to make my home feel better - personalised plant pots, candles, hanging planters and lamp shades.


Where do you sell your products?

I don't sell anything. Everything I make is either for my own home or presents for friends.

What inspires you?

I love getting inspiration from other bloggers, Instagram, Pinterest, magazines - the list is endless. One of the best ways of getting inspiration is going to my favourite shops, making a mental note of what I love and the coming home and seeing if I can create something similar for less money.


What are some of the pros and cons of running a creative business?

I think the biggest con for me is the fact that I make so much mess on a daily basis! I live in a constant state of crafting/DIY mayhem, which doesn't sit well with the fact that I like my home to look perfect. For me, it's really important to be as organised as possible, especially if you work from home.

The biggest pro is that I positively look forward to each day's work, which I could never say about my old job. Sometimes, before I can even get out of my pyjamas you will find me camera in hand, styling, making, creating because I really love doing it and can't get started soon enough. I never need a push to get going each day, which is just a truly wonderful feeling that I never expected from a job.



Any words of wisdom or advice to fellow makers starting out?

I think it's really important to get the support of those around you, whether it be your partner, family or friends. It can be a scary thing to do so it's crucial to know that you have people to fall back on if it doesn't work out in the way that you hoped it would. For me, one of the best things I did, or didn't do rather, was making no rigid plan. I handed in my notice at work and just waited to see where the path would lead me, what opportunities would reveal themselves and what made me happiest. I love the fact that new and exciting opportunities land in my inbox everyday and that I can be open to all or none of them because I haven't tied myself into anything.

What are your hopes and dreams for the future?

So many! I would love to work on more home tours for magazines, I would die for my own studio space, I dream of learning more about photography and other than that I look forward to seeing where the wind takes me.

Thanks Katy for sharing your lovely story, I love how much you've made happen in such a short space of time. If you want to see more of Katy's work then be sure to check out her beautiful blog Apartment Therapy or why not join in her #stylingtheseasons hashtag over on Instagram 

Inspiring stuff for anybody thinking of quiting their day jobs and going it alone don't you think?... you can absolutely make it happen if you really want to! 

Until next time, keep on making and creating (mostly so I can share your lovely stories here!)

Allison x x x 

 

 


Maker of the Week... Clothkat March 06 2015

Hello lovelies and welcome to another Maker of the week story!

I've only recently discovered this one, so I'm looking forward to finding out a little bit more about the designer behind the cute and quirky Clothkat brand. 

Tell me a little bit about you? 

Hello! I’m Kat, designer, illustrator and maker.

And where are you based?

I live and work in a place on the outskirts of Glasgow (squirrels, foxes and frogs are regular visitors to the garden) with my other half who is hugely supportive and has a special ops role in ClothKat when it comes to some of the more technical/practical sides of the business.
I had started with one of the rooms in the house being for work and but it’s gradually spreading and now it’s a two room business.

What do you make?

I make whimsical, colourful, characterful prints, cards and cushions. With an emphasis on tongue in cheek, texture and pattern. The majority of my products are for nursery décor.

And where do you sell your products?

Currently I sell online via Not on the high street, Etsy and my own website www.clothkat.co.uk 

I have sold work at craft fairs previously and while I really loved getting to meet customers and other makers face to face it wasn’t always easy to balance the time it took to prepare and attend them with the profit that could be made but I think if you find the right craft market for your product they can be wonderful for your business.

I have also sold my work wholesale via some lovely shops around the UK and I’m currently working on my new wholesale catalogue and will be contacting more shops soon.

What inspires you?

Ooh! So many things! Here is just a few of them - memories from my childhood, books and films I read, mid century style, Scandinavian designs, things related to circuses and the theatre, nature, textures and travel, exploring cute independent boutiques are one of our first ports of call in any city we visit.

Not to sound too Mary Poppins but anything that lifts my spirits and makes me feel joyful as it helps to get me into the right head space for being creative. Even just a smile from a stranger I pass on the street!



What are some of the pro's and con's of running your own business?

One of the hardest things I’ve found about running ClothKat has been how to develop my ‘inner manager’ – the creative side comes much more easily than the focussed/organised management side, but I’m getting there!
I love getting the chance to make a living out of doing something I’m passionate about and I love being able to contribute in some tiny way to a lot of very special occasions – such as celebrating a new little life coming into the world.

Do you have any words of wisdom and advice for designers starting out?

Be careful of the risks of comparing yourself with others – something I think you posted about recently Allison? I most certainly did! :)

While it’s really important to have an idea of what other people are making, how they price their work etc it can be all too easy to feel overwhelmed and compare yourself unfavourably.

Remember that everyone’s journey is different - you are totally unique no one else can do exactly what you can!

Breaking things down into tiny bite size pieces and working through them one at a time is a good way to make the overwhelming feel more manageable.

Working for yourself can be a bit isolating at times so make sure you take good care of yourself and get a good support network in place, friends, family, other makers – anyone who will be on your side and offer a bit of encouragement when you might be having doubts!

And finally. what are your hopes and dreams for the future?

Continuing to grow my business and taking my designs and applying them to other products is one of the next steps for me this year.

I would also love to get the chance to collaborate with other makers I admire.

Thank you so much Kat for sharing your maker story, I really enjoyed finding out a little bit more about you and all the wonderful things that inspire you too! 

If you want to see more of the Clothkat creations, or maybe you fancy taking up that offer of a collaboration, then hop on over to her Instagram gallery or website and check out more of her work there. Keep on making lovelies, until next time...

big love 

Allison x x x 

 

 

 


Are you feeling beautiful?... March 04 2015

Or are you waiting for a hashtag to come along to tell you that you are?... If like me you use Instagram, then its probably the latter. 

Now if you know me well, you will know I love IG, its a nice place to hang out, to post pretty pictures and to connect with lovely people and it is 'mostly' really good fun, until that is a hashtag comes along that makes you feel a little uneasy.

I'm talking about the one thats been doing the rounds lately #20beautifulwomen .. yeah .. that one. 

 

 

I think the idea behind it, is that you pick/tag 20 women who inspire you, women that you admire, women that you find beautiful, strong or otherwise and I'm guessing it was intended to make you and those around you feel good and beautiful and empowered?... women championing and supporting other women? a show of solidarity? 

How can that be when so many women are excluded, remember way back in the day (think secondary school PE skirts and sports knickers, no actually don't, those days are best forgotten!) when you never got picked for that netball team and you watched the tallest or prettiest or sportiest girls get picked first every time?... yeah ... that. all over again. 

And thats where my problem lies. 

I just don't get it... picking 20 women? Impossible. What about all the others that haven't been tagged? If you happen to end up being the little beaut sitting at home feeling like 'Billie no mates' tapping your screen over and over again, looking at the names popping up and hoping to get a mention and still its a no, how can that possibly make you feel good? It was a 'no' for me for a while too, so I 'get that feeling. Then suddenly like buses the 'tags' all came along together 'phew' yay ... finally I had been welcomed into the beautiful club! It was beginning to feel like I might be waiting at that bus stop for a very long time.

Ok, ok, so I totally get that hashtags are just a bit of fun and maybe I shouldn't be taking this whole thing so seriously and I can hear some of you shouting at the screen "don't get so hung up about it, its just a frickin hashtag" but on this occasion it didn't sit well with me. Social media is a very powerful tool that can make you feel wonderful if the likes are rolling in but can leave you feeling crushed if you ain't feelin' the love! 

I just don't feel comfortable with the idea of people (women) anybody feeling excluded or left out and those feelings turning into any kind of insecurities, it makes me want to reach out and protect those looking in from the outside wanting to be a part of it, I want to run and open the door and let them all in. lets face it, we all want to feel popular and we all want to be liked, its human nature and its natural to want to be told that we are beautiful too, however strong we may appear to be. 

So. I just want to shout out to every single woman on the planet or can I change that to every human being on the planet?... remember what I said about not leaving folk out! If you've been waiting to be told you are beautiful, the bus just stopped especially for you, hop on board baby! You don't need to sit around waiting for a hashtag anymore. 

big love

Allison x x x 

 

 

 


Maker of the Week... Yardage Design February 27 2015

Hello my friends! so lovely to see you again, I'm guessing you're looking forward to reading another Maker story?...

Well you won't be disappointed! welcome to the handprinted textile loveliness that is Yardage Design 

I've been following the super talented Nicole over on Instagram for a few years now and I pretty much love everything she does, so its my absolute pleasure to be able to feature her amazing work here.

Tell me a little bit about you?...

Hello! I'm Nicole :: designer and printmaker at Yardage Design, which is a little handprinted textile business I started back in 2009. I am an environmental scientist by profession, and while I've always been creative, I took a screen printing class one weekend years ago when my son was just a baby, and haven't looked back!

And where are you based?

I am based in Brisbane, Australia at the moment, but I have lived in, and run this business from, Melbourne and Madrid over the past few years :: we get around! I am lucky enough to have a home studio. We have a traditional "Queenslander" house, which means it is raised quite high off the ground. My studio is built in underneath the house, and is where I spend my days between school drop-off and pick-up.

What do you make?

Handprinted textiles are my thing! My goal when I started Yardage Design was to design and print fabric by the metre ("yardage") which I did for a while, but I started testing designs on tea towels and haven't been able to stop since. These days I design and print linen homewares like napkins and tea towels, as well as hand bags and tote bags. I'm looking forward to releasing a few new handprinted products in the coming months too. This year I am also challenging myself to #52weeksofprintmaking on Instagram to hone my skills and get my design brain moving every week :: it has been a great side project to my usual work.

And where do you sell your products?

The main way that people buy Yardage Design products is via my online shop www.yardagedesign.com but I also have a lovely group of shops who stock my wares, and a few times a year I do a large design market in Australia. It's so great for people to be able to come and feel the fabrics and see the colours. I am lucky to have some really lovely, loyal customers.

What inspires you?

So many things! I really love patterns, in whatever form they take. Travel has been a huge influence on my design work and aesthetic. I also love colour, especially from flowers and old things. I may have a vintage haberdashery habit! 

What are the pro's and con's of running your own business?

There are lots of amazing things about running a creative business, but my favourite is the satisfaction of making something that started as an idea in your minds eye and turning it into something people like enough to buy and use in their homes.
The only cons come about if you get out of balance between the "creative" and the "business" :: they both need to be nurtured and require each other for success.

Do you have any advice for designers starting out?...

There are a few things that we all take a while to learn, but these are my top three tips for creatives starting out :: take your business seriously and separate it from your personal life to an appropriate extent (particularly on social media - have a business account and a personal account if that helps); take good photographs, or get someone to take them for you; ask yourself "what's in it for me?" before making decisions, learn to say no, and follow your instinct.

And finally, what are your hopes and dreams for the future?

Good design that people love so that I can continue enjoying and growing my business ... and an overseas trip this year would be amazing! I am busting to get to Japan and check out their amazing creative culture first hand.

Thank you so much Nicole for sharing your story 'Today is the day make something special' is a mantra I love to live by too and I'm fortunate enough to have a beautiful pennant printed with those words hanging on my workroom wall, it was a lovely gift I received from Nicole sometime ago.

If you love her work as much as I do, you can check out more of her textiles and prints at www.yardagedesign.com 

big love for now lovelies, keep on making and sharing the handmade love! 

Allison x x x 

 


Maker of the Week... Sweet Izzi February 13 2015

Hello lovelies and welcome to another super sweet Maker of the week story.

I love this designers work so much, I couldn't wait to share it with you here! I'm absolutely sure you're gonna fall in love with every bit of it too! 

Say hello to the lovely Suzi, the maker behind Sweet Izzi

Tell me a little bit about you?... 

I'm Suzi I live with my fiancé and best-friend although I always refer to him as my husband it's easier than saying fiancé.



And where are you based?

I live in the Northern Quarter an area in the city centre of Manchester.
It's like a little village with lots of independent shops, galleries, quirky cafes and my fave coffee shops perfect for watching the world go by.
Working from home means that I have to be super organised and disciplined as I'm easily distracted so we are making a new work-space with a desk area in the spare bedroom which I am really excited about.
Hopefully it will be a great alternative to my previous "studio" the dining-room table!

what do you make?...

I design and make paper flowers for all sorts of occasions, celebrations and decorations.

And where do you sell your beautiful creations?

I sell my work on Etsy where I recently opened a little shop it's a starting point and a definite work in progress, I'm focusing on adding new blooms for Spring and Mothers Day.
I also do commission work where clients contact me directly through word of mouth and social media platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest.

what inspires you?

I'm inspired on a daily basis by a gazillion different things!
But to fine tune it in no particular order - people that make things happen, people that make me laugh, textures, old buildings, kindness, people that actually stick to an exercise regime [I like people!] countryside walks and landscapes, colours, paper, wandering around new cities, the limitless energy of small people, vegetarian food, not having a set routine..... I think I should leave it there :)

And finally Suzi, what are your hopes and dreams?

Ah! thats a tough one I have so many - I'd like to do workshops in the future for adults and children and make blooms especially for the wedding market.
I would love to create an installation or giant flower window display for a fancy store.
A move is on the cards next year so a simple uncomplicated life somewhere rural is what I'm really dreaming about!

Fallen in love with Suzi and her beautiful blooms yet?... I hope so, how could you not when she makes such gorgeous things! It was a tough job choosing which pictures to feature here so If you want to follow some more of her floral story pop over to Instagram and catch up with the rest there. Or why not visit her lovely Etsy store and spoil yourself with some pretty flowers that will last forever! 

Thank you Suzi for sharing your Maker story, oh and if you're ever in Birmingham please feel free to come and install a giant flowery display in the People shop window anytime, we would love to have you!

Allison x x x





Make it Sewcial... heart lightbox February 09 2015

Hello lovelies, good to see you again so soon!

this week's tutorial is a little something you can make for Valentines day, its as quick and as easy as making a card but much nicer because it lights up (and we all love things that light up!) I'm going to give this one to Mr C... ssshhh, don't tell him! 

M A T E R I A L S :

you will need an old cardboard box, any shape or size you have lying around would do the trick (I've made two, a baby one and a slightly bigger one)

and some battery operated fairy lights, like these (you will also need some paint if you want to finish up with a coloured box) 

make a paper heart template and trace around it like so 

and then using a pointy pencil, punch some holes in your box - two things to remember here 

1) don't make the holes too big, you want the lights to fit nice and snug so they don't fall out

2) make sure you punch enough holes to match up with your lights - 10 bulbs = 10 holes - sounds simple doesn't it?... I managed to punch too many holes... twice!

*now's the time to paint it a colour if you want to pretty it up*

then push your lights through the holes... 

tuck the batteries inside and close up the box

d o n e ! 

I quite like the brown cardboard box version because it looks kinda urban and raw (perfect for those burley blokes) but my bloke likes pink as much as me so I'm giving him the painted one! 

and thats it, I hope you like my simple Valentine tutorial and have a go at making one too, Its a great way of combining a card and gift in one go. If you have more time you could really go to town and make a super duper light box spelling out lovey dovey words and everything! 

Oh and don't forget to hide a secret love note inside or scribble some romantic words on the back, I love you more than bacon, you are sweeter than a donut with sprinkles on top... you get my drift! happy making sweethearts! 

big love

Allison x x x 

 

 

 


Make it Sewcial... sparkle letter banner February 02 2015

hello lovelies! got a spare 15 minutes to squeeze in a spot of happy crafting? then this fun and sparkly garland is the perfect make for you!

M A T E R I A L S : 

You don't need much at all, I used some gold vinyl that I had hidden in my fabric stash but you could use gold card if you prefer, then you will need some glitter (hooray for the sparkly stuff) some glue and a piece of ribbon or string 

start by cutting out your letters, spelling out whatever makes you feel happy, I've just cut mine freehand but you could download a template too, then cover the front of each letter with some glue and you know what's coming next... oh yeah, go crazy sprinkling the sparkly stuff!

what is it about that glittery dust that makes us feel so good?... whatever it is use lots of it if you want your letters to really shine and dazzle

then glue each letter to the ribbon, I reckon if you were using string you could just easily tape each letter on the back

I made some shiny gold tassels to hang on each end of mine too, but I'm saving tassels for another speedy tutorial because you've only got 15 minutes to spare remember!

If you cant't help yourself and those shiny tassels are calling out your name then make two and thread them onto the ends of your ribbon/string to complete your garland. like so...

And thats it baby. Voila. You've just added some instant sparkliness to your life in no time at all, how easy was that? 

hope you have fun lovelies! don't forget to come back soon for that tassel'tastic tutorial I've promised you! 

until next time, big love 

Allison x x x 

 

 


Embracing January... January 31 2015

January the gloomiest month of the year, or is it?...

I figured you can give into the grumpiness and wish it all away or you can spin that gloominess on it's head and embrace it all, just like you would any other month of the year and the differences that each one brings. 

 

Obviously It isn't always easy but if you start to appreciate what the month of January is designed for you will enjoy it so much more. Long dark cold days should encourage us to wrap up warm in lots of chunky layers, to run hot bubble baths after work and soak for awhile, to light the pretty candles all over the house, to indulge in hearty comfort food, all the soup and bread and to forget about the crazy diets 'BE KIND TO YOURSELF'

To drink spicy red wine, to cuddle on the sofa, to walk holding hands in the snow, to take advantage of going to bed early, to read some more books, to give into little naps, to go slow while you absolutely can, those busy months are coming and I promise if you rest up now and hibernate like a big brown bear you will feel raring to go in February... well that might be pushing it a little bit but certainly by March when the first flowers are blooming! YOU WILL FEEL FRESH AND BLOOMING LOVELY TOO! 

big love for now sweeties, take care 

Allison x x x 

 


Maker of the week... Thread the Love January 30 2015

Hello lovelies and welcome to another amazing Maker of the week story!

In Monday nights Make it Sewcial chat session we shared our love, tips and expert advice on all things crochet. So, I'm super pleased that today I can share the crocheted loveliness that is Thread the Love here. 

How ridiculously cute is this turban?!... and that face .. bless! 

And these pretty collars?... swoon double swoon!

Tell me a little bit about you?

I'm Amber. Mama, maker, dreamer!

And where are you based? 

I'm originally from Birmingham and moved to Rugby nearly 3 years ago when I was pregnant with Phoebe. The three of us live in a recently renovated tiny Victorian cottage. I currently work from either the sofa or the dining table but I have the studio space in the form of a brick outhouse in our back garden that I am hoping to start renovations on this spring.

 

What do you make?

Mainly crocheted children's (and some grown ups) accessories. I've made some children's clothing in the past too and would love to focus a lot more on this again this year.

And where do you sell your products?

I have a website www.threadthelove.co.uk where most of the business is done. I have sold at a few craft fairs in the past and although I enjoy them, I don't find them hugely profitable. I have been approached by a big name brand recently about stocking my crocheted collars but they wanted to strip my identity from them and sell them as their own product which I wasn't happy with. I must stay authentic and true to myself even when there's pound signs flying around!

What inspires you? 

Is it corny to say my daughter? It's true though, before having Phoebe I was in a dead end retail job and she gave me that push to do something with the passion for textiles and fashion combined that I have always had. I come from a very creative family with my mum being a soft furnishing interior designer, my sister having owned her own dress shop and my brother currently studying fine art at Central Saint martins, I had to do something to feed my passion.
I find inspiration in every day, colours, textures, weather, people I see on the bus and of course, Pinterest!

And what are your hopes and dreams?

This could take a while. I'm so full of hopes and dreams. I want to move to the Netherlands and open up shop selling not only my crocheted wares but other handmade children's clothes, accessories and gifts. I'd love to write a book or to be featured in a magazine. I also run a small crochet workshop in a local shop and I'd really like to travel the country doing more workshops and meeting lots of like minded people.

Thank you so much Amber for this lovely interview, If you want to see more of this crocheted cuteness, go check out her online store and you can follow her story over on Instagram too, until next time, keep on making lovelies!

big love

Allison x x x


Make it Sewcial... dream catcher January 26 2015

Hello lovelies!

I've wanted to make one of these for ages and as this weeks Make it Sewcial theme is D R E AM, and because January is always a good month for dreaming of wonderful things, it seemed like the perfect time to do it. 

M A T E R I A L S 

You will need a wooden embroidery hoop, whatever size you fancy and a matching lace doily (alternatively, you could use a pretty piece of lace cut to size if it is easier to find)

You will also need some string or wool to tie all your bits of treasure onto your hoop, an extra large needle and some feathers (from the haberdashery or collected from the beach)

1) Start by positioning your doily in place and popping a few of your favourite tunes on, you want to be in a nice cheery place to make something magical to help your dreams come true! 

2) Secure at the top and bottom with a little string to make sure your doily stays in place while you are stitching around the edge

3) Using some string and your super size needle, loosely attach the doily to the hoop, this should take no more than a couple of minutes, you really don't need to be too precious with the stitches here, just relax and get into the 'dreamy' laid back vibe, after all, it's meant to look bohemian and handcrafted! 

4) Once the stitchings finished, you're ready to start having a nice time tying your feathers, stones, beads, shells, bits of wood and whatever else you've collected onto your hoop. I loved doing this as these precious little bits and bobs where mostly collected at the beach in Cornwall... so, capturing my dreams and reminding me of happy Summer days all at the same time. You can add as many or as little strings as you fancy, just remember to cut them different lengths to add interest to your hoop. 

I've added some vintage lace too just to make it look extra lovely!

And thats it sweetie lovelies, one super gorgeous dream catcher, all finished in four easy peasy steps. 

I'm going to be hanging this one in my bedroom, there's absolutely no chance my dreams will be escaping while I'm catching up on my beauty sleep! I hope you have a go at making one too and even if you don't win the lottery overnight, you'll have lots of fun dreaming about it! 

love

Allison x x x 

 

 

 


Maker of the week... Lolli Dolls January 23 2015

Hello lovelies and welcome to another Maker of the week story.

I've only recently discovered these dolls over on Instagram and absolutely couldn't resist sharing the cuteness with you here.

Heres what Anne the talented maker behind Lolli Dolls had to share with me...

Me - tell me a little bit about you?

My name is Anne, and I am a married mom to one daughter, an amazing 11 year old. She is my biggest cheerleader and is constantly coming up with new ideas for me to make (complete with diagrams) as well as being my 'all things technical advisor'

I used to spend my entire summers as a kid drawing, and later that transitioned into painting, all kinds of needlework, sewing (thanks Mom!) and a job at a wonderful little store selling arts/crafts supplies and teaching people how to make all sorts of fun things.

That led to a (very) small business selling painted shirts (hey, it was the 90s) and then doing custom murals and painted furniture. I also dabbled in doll making just a little. Then I gave birth to the aforementioned amazing daughter, and despaired briefly when I believed I would never again have more than 3.25 minutes at a time to do anything crafty or artistic.

Alas, she got a bit older, and a sudden hankering to “work with wool felt and do some embroidery" led me to where I am now - designing patterns for dolls, ornaments and other lovely little items. And I am currently working feverishly to get some very fun and colourful finished dolls in my Etsy shop for sale. I also spent several years in there somewhere learning photography, which has proven invaluable for all these crafty endeavours

Me - where are you based?

I live in Texas, USA, where autumn and winter are generally mild but the summers can be brutal, so it helps to have a nice INDOOR hobby. Yay for crafts!!
I work out of my home. I am lucky to have a room dedicated to, well, lots of clutter - old chairs for photography, bags of stuffing, stacks of fabric and felt everywhere, and an inspiration board crammed full of pretty cards, vintage jewelry, old millinery flowers and photo booth strips. My daughter and I are photo booth junkies, and I will shell out crazy amounts of money when we find them on vacations to cram myself on that tiny little spinning chair to do photos with her.

Me - tell me more about the products do you make?

I design patterns for dolls, some of which could be considered “art dolls,” and some of which are play dolls, like my Happytown Play Sets, which are fun little dolls that are designed to encourage play and spark the imaginations of little minds and hands. I also have patterns for felt ornaments and art, as well as finished dolls.

Me - where do you sell your products?

At the moment, I sell in my Etsy shop www.etsy.com/shop/lollidolls

I am relatively new to Instagram, but I’d like to try selling there too, as it’s a more direct connection with buyers. I love conversations with the people who buy my products. I also have a blog, where I share new items, inspiration and tutorials lollidolls.wordpress.com

Me - what inspires you?

I love this question, because I’m always interested to hear what inspires other artists. In general, COLOUR inspires me - bold colours, bright colours, subtle colours, soft colours, colours in artwork, colours in nature, clear colours or colours that run together to make other colours…you name it, I love to look at colour. 

I am also inspired by the illustrations and beautiful lithography in children’s books from the 1920s and 1930s, which were part of the Golden Age of Illustration. My first three dolls (Ellie, Grace and Rosie) were heavily inspired by two children’s clothing catalogues I have that are from the 1920s. I am always charmed by the sweet faces and delicate lines of those drawings.

But I also love a modern sensibility, too - lovely cards, fun illustrations, swirls of pretty paint and so on. A fun mix of old and new always charges me up.

Me - what are your hopes and dreams?

First and foremost, my hope is that my daughter knows that being creative, in whichever form it takes, is good for the soul. She always makes us the most amazing, handmade gifts for Christmas, but this past Christmas she took my breath away by surprising us with dolls she had made using my patterns. She did it all in secret, surreptitiously copying the patterns from the Happytown Play Sets and sneaking in there with my tools and fabric and made dolls of myself, my husband and our two dogs. I was speechless, and there might have been a tear or two shed….OK, BUCKETS of tears, I admit it! She was truly more excited to give us these gifts than she was to receive any of her own gifts. And that, I think, is the beauty of a creative soul.

Me again!

How gorgeous is Anne?...and her daughter sounds like a little lovely too! its no surprise that she makes such adorable dolls with a warm crafty heart as big as that! 

Hope you enjoyed her Maker story as much as I did, go check out her IG feed, Etsy store and blog if you want to see some more.

until next week, keep on making folks!

big love

Allison x x x

 

 

 



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