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
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
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!
The Make it Sewcial Meet Up May 11 2015
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 email@example.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!
Allison x x x
creamy lemon dessert April 29 2015
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!)
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
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
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...
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
growing an online audience... March 19 2015
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.
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
my living room makeover... March 14 2015
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
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.
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!
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
Make it Sewcial... dream catcher January 26 2015
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!
Allison x x x
snow, sleep and ginger bread houses... January 22 2015
A family holiday to Sweden...
I really can't think of a more dreamier way to have started the New Year than to be surrounded by snow, crisp blue skies, and silence.
We stayed with lour lovely friends Sara, Karin, Julius and Ella in their beautiful home...
we woke when we were ready and padded about in comfy layers and cosy socks, I have never felt so relaxed, welcome and at ease.
This is Sara taking care of the chickens
and in return they gifted us fresh eggs for breakfast in the morning... which we ate with funny, I mean 'delicious" fish paste!
When we got dressed we walked through the forests with the beautiful light...
And played in the snow and skated on ice (a huge frozen lake, eek!)
We looked up at the trees and breathed in all the fresh air...
And in the evening we collected wood for the stove and hung pretty candles in the tree ... so pretty, it made my heart sing!
We cooed at the yellow house next door... and fell in love with the gingerbread houses dotted in the snow
And then we met Karin's house ... oh my! too much cuteness!
There hasn't been a day gone by when I haven't missed this place, the snow, our lovely friends and the peace and calm of this beautiful country. I've missed my funny snow boots and the cracker bread for breakfast, I've missed the cold on my cheeks and the long silent days where you have headspace to gather your thoughts.
I've missed the slow pace of life and twinkly candles, I've missed the simplicity of every day living and breathtaking views, I've missed the elk meat tacos and cray fish and glogg and I've missed the early nights that happen regularly because the fresh air and quiet times make you ever so sleepy!
I've missed the space and the trees and the time for good conversation...and the time to say nothing at all and thats ok too, I've missed the authenticity of a lifestyle that gives you time to just be.
I've really missed just doing nothing at all...
Sweden, Sara, Karin, Julius and Ella, until next time, thank you for one of my most favourite holidays ever, we have made some magical family memories to treasure forever.
Allison x x x
Make it Sewcial 2015... January 15 2015
hello my friends and a very Happy New Year to you!
The festivities are well and truly over and the coming weeks are full of promise and excitement for what 2015 will bring...
To help ease us back in and to brighten up our Mondays (when actually, all we really want to do is hibernate underneath the duvet) Make it Sewcial is back for another season of handmade loveliness!
Every week this community of Makers is growing stronger and stronger, and I have a really lovely feeling that this year some truly amazing things are going to happen!
There are now nearly 12,000 posts in the Instagram gallery from creatives all over the world and the diversity of crafts and work shared every week warms my heart and makes me smile.
Make it Sewcial is all about living and loving handmade, inspiring, sharing, supporting and connecting a creative community... Its working. Big time.
I have lots of ideas to keep on making Mondays the most creative day of the week, starting with a new regular 'Maker of the week' feature which I'll be posting here every Friday, thats tomorrow! Eek!
You can look forward to finding out more about the creatives, their talents and the crafts that inspire them to do what they do so well. I'm excited.. hope you are too lovelies! See you tomorrow.
Allison x x x
Cornwall completes me... November 11 2014
If you follow me over on Instagram (where I spend more time than I probably should!) you will know that this year I've been fortunate enough to spend three whole weeks in my most favourite part of the world.
I wanted to share some of that loveliness here.
Two beautiful bright and sunny weeks in the Summer and one crisp and cosy week in the Autumn. Walking along stunning coastal paths, staring at the deep blue sea and spending precious time out with my lovely family. Just bliss.
Enjoying the longest days on the beach, watching the sunrise above the ocean in the morning and staring in awe at the most amazing coloured sunsets in the evening, I'm pretty sure I've never ever seen anything so magical in all my life, not anything that warms my soul quite as much as this. Its almost impossible to capture with my camera phone, but I did my best... no filter!
My beautiful beautiful kids... love them so and will hold these happy memories close to my heart to cherish forever and ever
We like to shop for treats at Roo's beach...
And drink cocktails made from rum and juice in the afternoon whilst watching the cows graze on top of the hill from our cute little apartment... when we leave our cute little apartment we head to St Ives to drink tea and eat chocolate cake at The Vintage store and coffee shop, we never leave without buying some goodies here too!
We cook dinner on the beach and serve it up in enamel bowls bought from the old fashioned camping shop in Padstow
And we watch pretty boats bobbing in the harbour...
Sometimes we pull over by the roadside to buy coffee and cake from an old morris minor :)
And we dream of The People shop becoming neighbours with the Deli...
Especially when me and mr C are merry on mulled wine!
Cornwall I love you more than ever and can't wait to feel the cold wet sand beneath my feet again... thank you for your glorious blue days of sunshine, thank you for the fresh air that blows through my hair and feels lovely on my cheeks, thank you for the fish and chips and pasties, cream teas, ice creams and fudge, thank you for the peace and quiet and relaxing days to just be for as long as you want to ... for the moments to huddle on the beach, thank you for keeping me going until next time... thank you for filling my heart and soul up to the top... I miss you
until next time, I'll be dreaming of you.
love Allison x x x
donuts with sprinkles... October 06 2014
hello sweet lovelies!
I made these yummy donuts at the weekend and they are so ridiculously scrumptious and easy to make, I couldn't resist sharing the recipe with you here. Of course I had my lil girl baker on hand to assist me and we had such a lovely time together, I totally recommend you try making them with your little people too or for family parties, everyone will love them and they make a great alternative to cupcakes don't you think?...
The only slightly tricky thing is finding a donut pan, you should be able to get one from a good cookware shop but we had no joy there so turned to the trusty internet and ordered one really easily. It arrived within the week all the way from the U.S of A, which I kinda liked because it works with the whole donut theme! Once you have your pan, the rest is a piece of cake or should I say 'half a dozen donuts!
here's the recipe (we adapted it just a little to use up what we had in the store cupboard)
8oz of plain flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
6oz of caster sugar
6fl oz milk
2 eggs beaten
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 - 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg or cinnamon
Icing sugar and colourful sprinkles for decorating
makes 12 donuts
1) preheat the oven to 160*C or gas mark 3
2) brush the pan well with olive oil (you can use butter if you prefer)
3) in a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and sugar together
4) in a seperate smaller bowl, whisk the milk, eggs, olive oil and vanilla extract together - add to dry ingredients (the ones in the bigger bowl!)
5) now you're ready to pour the batter mix into the greased pan - fill up each donut shape 3/4's full
6) bake for between 10 and 15 minutes - yep, they don't take long, keep an eye on them (or make a milkshake to swill them down later) as soon as they turn golden and feel spongy, remove them from the oven. leave them to cool before trying to ease them out of the tin - don't be tempted to try and remove them warm... you will end up with a pile of itty bitty donuty crumbs.
7) make a simple icing sugar glaze (just add water) dip your donuts into the glossy glaze and now its time for the best bit, cover your donuts with loads of colourful rainbow sprinkles, so much fun!
8) donuts done, grab your strawberry milk, tea or coffee and enjoy. YUM
You could leave them plain like this and sprinkle them with some cinnamon sugar, but then you would miss out on the fun stuff :) mind you .. I must admit I was pretty impressed it actually looked like a 'real' donut, how perfect is that?..
happy baking folks!
love from Allison x x x
Make it Sewcial... part 2 September 08 2014
After a lovely, long, lazy Summer, It feels soooo good to be back! Im feeling refreshed, recharged and ready to go with lots of exciting new plans and ideas. I've also made some little changes to Monday's Make it Sewcial ... which I'm really excited to tell you about too.
So here we go...
Every Monday you can still look forward to waking up to the happiest start to the week, I want you to use that 'Make it Sewcial hashtag till your hearts content, share your handmade projects and crafty makes and the best bit, continue to connect with crafters and makers all over the world.
Then because I like to give you something lovely to look forward to at the end of the week, I'll still be sharing a collection of your lovely makes and choosing a MAKER of the week - Crafter of the week has gone all grown up and it does have a lovely ring to it don't you think?... Make it Sewcial's Maker of the Week 'makes' perfect sense to me! You may even be lucky enough to be featured right here on my blog!
Our regular Monday night chat between 9.00 and 10pm will pretty much stay the same for now, unless of course you have some fantastic suggestions for crafty stuff you're desperate to talk about, I would love to hear your ideas... fire them over to me and we could be talking about them before you can say "whats the easiest way to insert a zip"
And finally... I won't be doing my weekly tutorials, but I will treat you to a lovely DIY tutorial as and when I can squeeze them in. I'm going to be a very busy girly working on some very exciting secret projects (sorry to be a tease) but somethings are 'absolutely' worth waiting for and its time for me to make the next chapter of the Make it Sewcial story happen.
So for now sweet lovelies, keep on crafting, keep on making and keep on sharing the handmade love.
Allison x x x
she designed a life she loved... July 31 2014
I'm not kidding, take a look at this
This was June...
And this was July...
At the end of every month I like to post a round up of all the pics I've shared over the past few weeks (double whammy this time, as I missed the moment with June, so I've sneaked it in here!) its a wonderful reminder of all the loveliness I'm grateful for and is a gorgeous visual diary of how beautiful life can be/is!
I smile every time I look at these pictures and think about the colourful life I've captured here. I seriously never stop counting my blessings every single day!
None of this is fake styling, none of this has landed in my lap, none of this is borrowed from anyone else, I work my big fluffy hair off and make the most of everything we do (with Mr C's help of course) to make it all happen, to put the 'joy' into life, and this is the lovely result, this is the happiness that I have created for myself and my family to enjoy.
Its not about showing off, or comparing yourself to others, its about satisfying your 'own' dreams, and finding your own 'happy' and squeezing every last drop out of it. Your 'happy' should come from within, straight from your heart... anyone can do It!
You only get one go my friends, better make it beautiful!
Allison x x x
Make it Sewcial... top five favourites July 14 2014
looking back over the past year I realised just how many lovely handmade projects and tutorials I've shared with you here on my blog. I thought It would be a really nice idea to pick my top five favourites to share with you again, just incase you missed them the first time around!
So, first up has absolutely got to be my number 1 favourite the 'up cycled chair' remember this beauty with its minty loveliness and neon colour pop legs? well this project was hugely popular with you guys too, and has also been pinned hundreds of times over on Pinterest. I adore my chair and its become my favourite thing in my craft room too.
Next up at number 2 is this simple but effective paper cut picture 'I love you more than flowers' something you can do in no time at all with instant results, this project would make the perfect handmade gift for your loveliest family and friends, or for a nursery or craft room, just change the words up a bit to suit yourself.
Sitting nicely at slot number 3 is the 'happy jar' I love this so much, its a cute little tutorial that acts as a constant reminder for us to be grateful for all the lovely things we do everyday. Sometimes when we are really busy, its easy to forget just how much we enjoyed those fish and chips and donuts whilst sitting on the beach, or those gorgeous new boots that make you smile every time you wear them! Not anymore, the 'happy jar' stores all your happy memories away for a rainy day when you might need a little pick me up!
At number 4 is the 'floral headband' just because every girl needs flowers in her life and wearing them in your hair makes you feel like the prettiest girl in the world just for the fun of it and of course they look totally gorgeous too! If you haven't made one already, try it, honestly you'll be twirling round the kitchen like a flower fairy in no time!
And finally, sitting proudly at number 5 is my 'pretty storage tins' tutorial. I can't help but love this make because these tins started life as empty coffee containers that would otherwise have been thrown in the bin, but with a little bit of patterned paper, a pritt stick and just a couple of minutes of your time, they can be transformed into something really useful that barely costs you a bean (pardon the pun!) fantastic stuff hey!
It really wasn't easy choosing just 5 today, as every week I create things from the heart that I hope you will love and enjoy making too. Which have been your favourites?... and which makes are on your 'to do list?... I would love to see pictures of the projects you've made following my weekly tutorials!
big love for now
Allison x x x
Make it Sewcial... fruity'licious melon purse July 07 2014
Good to see you here again for this weeks Make it Sewcial tutorial, hope you're feeling up for something a little fruity?...
Unless you live on planet Mars, It would be impossible not to notice that all things fruity are big news this Summer, bananas, pineapples and melons are not only turning up in your yummy breakfast smoothies but these juicy fruits are adorning everything from flip flops to shoppers to T-shirts and jewellery.
I too have fallen head over heels in love with this latest trend and couldn't resist designing and making this delicious melon purse! Here's the step by step instructions for you to soak up a little bit of that tropical feeling too.
1) materials - you will need some red and green cotton drill (this fabric is a nice weight to make a purse in and 1/2 metre should be plenty to make one or two more for your friends) some black and white felt and a 7 or 8 inch matching zip
2) you will need three different size plates to trace off a pattern for your purse (the largest being your average size dinner plate)
3) trace a large green cotton circle, a medium size white felt circle and a smaller red cotton circle - cut each circle in half to make a semi circle or slice of melon ;)
4) using a teeny bit of black felt cut yourself some melon pips, I cut 14 in total for the front and back
5) position the pips in place ready for stitching
6) stitch each pip down the centre to secure in place
7) starting with the green piece of fabric, layer them together to create your melon slice!
8) using a zig zag stitch, because it looks pretty, stitch the layers on one on top of each other
9) thats's the front completed, repeat steps 7 and 8 to make the back of the purse
10) place right sides together
11) using your largest loosest stitch, sew along the straight edges of the purse, using a good 1cm seam allowance
12) open it out, your purse should look like this, you'll probably be feeling a little confused here as to how you get your coins inside your purse?.. don't worry this is where the magic happens! by the way, how cute does your melon look?... I can totally feel several more melon projects coming up soon!
Ok, so whats this magic stuff I'm talking about? well, I get asked a zillion times about zips, yep, I can hear you holding your breath... 'DON'T'
fear not my lovelies, worry no more, this tutorial is as much about making a cute purse as it is about sharing one of my best kept secrets 'how to insert a zip really EASILY
Ready? here we go
13) turn your melon piece over and iron the seam nice and flat
14) lay your zip (facing down) directly on top of the closed seam and pin in place, using a zip foot, stitch along your zip until you reach the end, repeat the other side
15) turn your fabric over and admire your straight stitches
16) using a stitch un-picker, gently open the seam
17) can you see whats peeking through?
18) one beautiful EASILY inserted zip, no messing, no faffing, no zips in the wrong place, just one scary job, nice and simply done. Its amazing how many times you may have rejected a project because it had a zip in it, not anymore!
19) now its time to stitch around your melon purse (again, about 1cm seam allowance is plenty)
20) and finally snip off the pointy corners to make it easier to turn through and thats it, all the hard work all done, that wasn't too painful now was it!
And just take a look at the GORGEOUS results
Swoon, cute huh, told you it was a good 'un, and hopefully I've managed to take away a little itty bit of the fear that may have been spoiling some of your sewing fun! Time to dust off the old sewing machine? I hope so!
Happy making sweeties
Allison x x x
dreamy lemon dessert June 23 2014
Hey sweeties, good to see you here again for another lovely Make it Sewcial tutorial!
This week I've swapped the pretty fabrics and the sewing machine, the paint brushes and the furniture for a little spot of baking instead. I like to keep my Monday's interesting by trying lots of different things, and I also thought it was about time I shared one of my all time favourite dessert recipes with you too.
This recipe was passed onto me and mr C over twenty years ago and we've been enjoying its lemony goodness ever since! Its deliciousy light and lovely and really is the perfect pud for those long Summer days.
And days like today when the sunshine is pouring through your kitchen window, your singing along to your favourite tunes, whilst juicing a bucket load of lemons and the fresh zesty scent is filling the air, you absolutely know you are in for a proper treat!
Heres how you can whip up a taste of sunshine too...
INGREDIENTS - for the crunchy biscuit base - 8oz digestive biscuits, 4oz butter, 2 tablespoons of caster sugar
and for the filling - 1/2 pint of double cream, 6oz tin of condensed milk, 4 large lemons, lavender to decorate
those are the simple ingredients and here are the simple step by steps -
1) pop your biscuits inside a carrier bag and bash them with a wooden rolling pin to make the crumb base
2) gently heat and melt your butter and add them to your crumbs, add the caster sugar too
3) mix the crumbs, butter and sugar together
4) pat the mixture firmly into a 7" flan/pie dish and bake on a low oven (150*C) for 8 minutes
now its time to give those lemons a good squeeze and to whip up the dreamy cream!
Seriously, is there anything nicer than the smell of freshly squeezed lemons?... I had to include an extra big pic here because juicing lemons makes me happy!
5) zest your 4 lemons and inhale deeply... mmmmmmm yum yum yum
6) juice your lemons squeezing out every last little drop of loveliness, the original recipe uses half this amount of juice but that just ain't good enough for me, I'm going for full on fruity flavour
7) add your 1/2 pint of double cream and your tin of condensed milk
8) give the 'dreamy cream' a good mix and pour on top of your 'cooled' crunchy biscuit base
9) smooth with the back of your wooden spoon
10) decorate with a cute little sprig of lavender for extra prettiness and colour, leave in the fridge to chill for about half an hour and if you can't wait that long, 15/20 minutes should do, just enough time to lick that lemony bowl clean! mmmm ... more yum yum yum
11) now as I said earlier this is a proper old skool recipe, and I wanted to bring the visuals bang up to date by serving them in some cool glass jars, well after all, if you ain't sipping yo' cocktails out of a glass jar or serving your desserts in a glass jar, you definetly ain't down with the kids!
12) so, for the 'deconstructed' glass jar version just spoon in a layer of biscuit crumbs (no need to bake obvs) then a layer of lemon cream, then more biscuit and so on, topping off with some whipped cream if ya fancy and then sprinkle with some lemon zest to decorate, make a nifty flag from a stripy straw and washi tape, and finally add a little more lavender and there you have it, easy peasy lemon squeezey!
The 2014 version of a very retro dessert! I'm gonna resisting scoffing this one now and save it for the lovely mr C for when he gets home from work, its his absolute fave!
happy baking everyone, hope you enjoy every zingy tangy lemony mouthful as much as me!
Allison x x x