Tanya Blake, Editorial Assistant for Making says a fond farewell to the mag and the craft team

Tanya Blake

Tanya Blake

3 December 2013


Hello to all you lovely Making readers! Today is in fact my last day working for Making *sniff* and I just wanted to write a quick note to say a fond farewell to you all.

It has been an absolute pleasure working as part of the craft team over the past couple of years and I have met all kinds of wonderful people during my time here, from colleagues and contribitors to artists all around the UK and of course you crafty bunch of readers too! 

I have learnt a lot along the way, and even managed to pick up some craft skills (well I managed to knit an 'almost scarf') but most importantly I have made some marvellous friends. I would like to give a big thank you to my lovely Making team for being so supportive and fun to work with, as well as those cheeky members of the Knitting and Making Jewellery team who we share an office with - what a laugh it has been! Anyway, enough rambling! It is time for me to leave and discover pastures new (well, Surrey) and so I will take this opportunity to wish you all the best and of course... keep on crafting! 

All the best,

Tanya

x

The holidays are coming!

Tanya Blake

Tanya Blake

6 November 2013

 

With Christmas just over a month away it's time to get on top of your festive crafting. Here are a few lovely project ideas to get your crimbo creative juices flowing! 

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Image from: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/86905467782955593/

These mini ginger bread houses are simply adorable. Wrap them in clear plastic and tie with a ribbon to give as a present, or serve to guests as a delightfully festive sweet treat. 

Christmas tree

Image from: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/93871973456588020/

Fancy an alternative Christmas tree? We LOVE this shabby chic design made with drift wood - plus, no pesky needles to hoover up!

Wreath Main _0323 (2)

Fancy a traditional floral wreath with a contemporary colour scheme? Then look no further than this gorgeous design from Quince Brighton - step-by-step instructions are in our bumper December issue. 

 Paper Wreath

Or for a contemporary alternative to floral wreaths why not try our gorgeous paper wreath by Lydia Crook - to find out how to make it buy our bumper December issue on sale Thursday 7th November.

Next Month _0909

Why not make these cute festive stockings to guide your guests to their seats? This project by Jemima Schlee also features our December issue!      

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Image from:http://www.pinterest.com/pin/509258670335160874/

What's the best thing about Christmas? Most (if not all) in the Making office will say FOOD! We'd be head over heels with whoever presented us with these sweet (in more ways than one) gingerbread cookie trees.  

Find a recipe and instructions here: 

http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/9008/gingerbread+tree

Crackers Main _0497 (1)

Fed up of store bought crackers? Add some style, flair and your own pick of treats and cheesey jokes with handmade crackers. The ones pictured above are made by our very own Torie Jayne - this is one of a whopping 50 festive makes that feature in our December issue of Making. Don't miss out on your copy! 

Got any Christmas craft ideas? We'd love to see your festive handmade projects - post up your pics on our facebook or twitter pages. 

Happy making!

Christmas Crafting

Sophie Mould

Sophie Mould

29 August 2013

Well, it's still summer but sadly not for much longer (boo, hiss!) and this is exactly the time of year we start preparing our Christmas issue, yes Christmas! So with the festivities in full premature swing, we thought we'd set our fabulous intern, Imogen Cooper, the task of spying out some Christmas crafts for you all to bear in mind and start making before the big event itself - over to Imogen...

Hello! I'm Imogen and I'm currently on work experience here at Making. The winter months are beginning to creep closer so I thought I'd share a few Christmas crafts to keep you all occupied this holiday season. Better still, they all make great gifts - bonus!

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These legwarmers  look great and are a perfect make for all you knitters out there. The colours are lovely and festive too - don't they remind you of candy canes?

 

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Another crafty gift that will keep your loved ones warm (and fashionable) is this scarf. Ideal for adults and children alike, it makes a brilliantly versatile present.

 

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If knitting and sewing aren't for you, try your hand at this scrummy looking mint choc fudge. Made with all the sweetest treats (well, they are  for Christmas) the recipe makes a batch of 117 so stock up on your gift bags!

 

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If you know someone who, like me, is a lover of photos, these beautiful photo mason jar candles are a truly thoughtful gift. Choose your own favourite pictures and give your friends and family something that's really individual. 

 

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And here's one for the kids...gingerbread playdough! Ok, you can't eat it, but it smells fantastic and makes a great gift for any little one. 

 

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If you're stuck on what to make for the man in your life then look no further as ties are always useful. Easy to make, these have a really flexible design and can be made in any material you like.

 

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Next is this simple but beautiful DIY pillow - I love! The fact that this can be decorated with any word or symbol makes it a brilliant all-round present. 

 

6

Perfect as a small gift or even a stocking filler, these candy cane soaps are sure to look and smell as delicious as the real thing. Never made soap? It's surprisingly easy and can be    made in batches of six using this recipe.

 

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Decorations are a great gift and these clay ornaments are no different; just look at how adorable they are! They also double up as inventive gift tags to pretty up presents and cards. You can find out how to make them here.

 

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Perfect for family, this framed handprint is sentimental, unique and a fun make!

 

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Last but most definitely not least is this stunning picture frame memory wreath. Friends and family will love to see all their favourite photos in one special gift. This again can be changed to suit individual receivers (can you tell personalisation is a big hit?!) and updated as time goes by. Also, while it looks fantastically festive, this is more than welcome to stay up all year round.

 

I hope you've now found something for even the fussiest family member! Making would love to hear from anyone who has given these crafty ideas a go. Let us know how your homemade Christmas gifts have gone using our facebook or twitter pages. 

 

 

A week in the life of a crafty intern

Tanya Blake

Tanya Blake

2 August 2013

   Caitlin At Desk 

Hi, my name is Caitlin Brangwyn. I am 15 years old and currently working towards my GCSE's. At school I am studying all the usual subjects including Maths, Science, English etc, however my real passion is the creative subjects, for which I am taking Graphics and Textiles.

Although not entirely sure what I'd like to do in the future, I know that I'd definitely like to do something with a design background. Whether that be architecture, graphic or fashion design, I'm not sure yet. Work experience placements have helped me narrow down my options. Making is my second work experience placement and I have enjoyed it thoroughly.

As a keen crafter I often buy Making. I enjoy flicking through it and often using the magazine as inspiration- especially for present ideas as well as using the ideas I have found for my Textiles and Graphics work.

I started sewing when I was about seven. I have a large family as my parents are divorced and almost everyone is crafty in some way. Initially it was my step-mum who taught me to sew, however my mum has always enjoyed sewing and I was soon picking up crafting tips from both of them. I can remember making all sorts of clothes, bedding, cushions and blankets for various different toys, and can now do the same for my two younger sisters. Having grown up with crafting, it will be something I will continue for the rest of my life.

Back to Making though! I was only there for three days but I learnt a lot and it made me realise that publishing is something I may very well be interested in...

DAY ONE

It was hard to know what to expect from the day having never been to a publishers before. However after meeting the team I found I was immediately settled. Although GMC Publications itself is a fairly big company, I was surprised that the Making team was so small! It is extraordinary to think that a very small team of people are able turn out such a professional and well thought out magazine every month. The atmosphere of the office was lovely. Everyone was working hard but there was a nice level of chat too.

I was asked to source some items for the Christmas 'Lust List'. I was very pleased to be able to contribute something towards the final magazine and am excited for it to be published so I will be able to see some of my own work in print!

Emma, Editor of Making, then asked me if I wouldn't mind producing a small blog over the few days to explain about who I am and why I wanted to come to Making, which I continued to do for the rest of the day.

DAY TWO

I was excited to get back in the office on the second day. Having finished sourcing items for the 'Lust List' I was given the task of putting the page together. Claire, Designer of Making, showed me how to use Adobe Indesign. Previous to this work experience I had used both Photoshop and Illustrator so the program was fairly familiar, however it was good to get a designer's insight into the program and I enjoyed learning little tips, which will help with other design work I do. I spent the majority of the day making up the page for the magazine. Having finished the page I printed it off to show Emma. She seemed pleased with the results and I was proud of my achievements for the day.

DAY THREE

Having reflected on my work from the previous day the first thing I did on Wednesday morning was to adapt and edit the 'Lust list' page I was working on. After looking closely at my previous days efforts a couple of faults grabbed my attention and needed changing. These were tiny things like a full stop being out of place or two spaces instead of one, but these details are why the magazine is such high quality. A final copy of a magazine can be changed numerous times before put into production, something I didn't necessarily realise before I'd come to Making.

For the rest of the day I was given a project for another magazine, also produced at GMC Publications, Making Jewellery. My assignment was to design a page for a new project. I have found over my time at Making that the designing side of the publishing industry is what I enjoy the most. 

Work experience is such a worthwhile thing to do. It gives you an insight into the world of work and (with the right company) is very enjoyable too! Some people may be put off because you might have to give up your own time during holidays or weekends, but it's a small price to pay if it means that, after, you know that you'd definitely like to do something in that industry. You don't even need to give up too much of your own time. Before Making I did some work experience with a graphic designer, I was only there one day but learnt so much and it provided me with another option for a career path.

My time spent at Making was so insightful. Before the few days I'd never really thought about publishing, but it was so enjoyable that I'm definitely going to look more into it and see if there are any other magazines that would be happy to take me on for a week or so.

I'd just like to thank Making for letting me come in for a few days. I have found it so useful and enjoyed it immensely. Hopefully I may be able to come back at some point and continue my work experience.

Thanks!

Caitlin Brangwyn.

Handmade Hen Do's

Tanya Blake

Tanya Blake

31 July 2013


Planning a unique and successful hen party can be tricky, especially if you're on a tight budget. Where do you hold it? What activities should you organise? What would make great party favours? How do you create an enjoyable and memorable event for the guests and bride-to-be?

We thought we'd give you all some tips, projects and ideas to help you plan your own perfect handmade hen do. 


First things first, the invites. It may seem a bit old fashioned but we love the idea of sending out handwritten invitations in the post - and creating your own gives it that extra special, personal touch. They can be as simple as the invite below, all you'll need is some brown card, a fine ink pen and some bright plain envelopes; perfect if you're strapped for cash and time. 

Banner _6

Or if you have a bit more time on your hands why not try creating hand-printed paper invites, along with pretty floral envelopes like these beauties that featured in our July issue of Making magazine. 

       Invitations Main _7474

I recently organised a hen-do for a friend and thought it would be great to make party bags for everyone. You could spend a fortune on bags and fill them with all kinds of expensive shop bought items but I wanted to a) give everyone something a bit more personalised and b) not go bankrupt making them. I settled on this nifty little idea for the bags:

Original _time -to -drink -champagne -paper -favour -bags - By Lila Coast Weddings On Notonthehighstreet .com

I found these charming little bags whilst browsing through www.notonthehighstreet.com and wondered if it would be possible to make my own at home. After a bit of intense googling I found a great online tutorial that shows you how to print straight onto simple paper bags using your home printer: click here for the tutorial. You can bulk buy paper bags on ebay or amazon and this is such a quick, easy and affordable way to make one-of-a-kind party bags. 

Now you've got your bags, the question is what to fill them with? Why not try any of these handmade goodies:

Wedding Dress Cookies

You can make your own templates for cookies out of cardboard to create all kinds of wedding themed shapes, then simply ice or decorate as much or as little as you like. For instructions on how to make biscuits as pretty as the ones in the picture click here.

Or why not make some homemade marshmallow treats to include in your goodie bags? 

Heart Marshmallows

This recipe comes from the amazing blog A Beautiful Mess, which is full of all sorts of amazing crafty ideas. Pop a few handmade marshmallows in plastic and tie with a satin ribbon for an extra special hen-do treat. 

Mustache -straws

I also decided to make my very own moustache straws to include in the party bags, and found a brilliant tutorial on Etsy, complete with moustache templates for you to make at home. Click here for the tutorial.

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As a special treat for the hen why not make her a handmade sash to wear on the day? I'm not talking anything that involves hot pink, satin or glitter, just a bit of handmade loveliness like this example I found at www.doitmomma.co.uk


Other goodies you could include in your bags:

- Packs of mini love hearts (I bought some in bulk from Amazon)
- Cocktail umbrellas (I picked up a bag for around 99p from Ebay)
- Packs of balloons
- Simple jewellery kits (they make great mementos of the day and you can find cheap kits on Ebay or source your own supplies from local bead shops)
- 'Hangover cures' (I included a mini bottle of water and a couple of headache tablets in each bag)
- A list of the days activities...


    Hen Party Ideas


So, you've sorted the invitations and party bags but what are you actually going to do on the day?

        Scavenger Hunt Birthday Party Ideas (1)

It's great way to break the ice, it's fun and it's free! You can come up with all kinds of tasks for your scavenger hunt including lists of items to track down, embarassing dares and places try and find - all with photographic evidence of course.

I made a check list and popped it in each party bag, then split the group into teams and we then worked through the list throughout the day and night. Why not also buy a cheap mini trophy or medals for the winning team?



Click here for a fantastic pre-made alternative. 

Madmen _614

Our next idea is hosting a retro cocktail party complete with kitsch finger food ideal to soak up all that booze. 

It really doesn't have to be expensive, especially if you ask each guest to bring a bottle of spirits and mixer. You can print off cocktail recipes for all to try and make, ask everyone to glam up and decorate your venue with simple handmade decorations. Chuck in some party games (twister anyone?) and you've got a hen-do heading for success.

For a fab list of Mad Men inspired retro cocktail recipes click here.

For some inspiration on how to decorate your party click here or have a look at some really practical cocktail party decor tips here

                    Obstacle -course

Okay... this photo may look a bit out of place in a handmade hen do blog post but this is supposed to signify a homemade obstacle course. 

There are a lot of really expensive day out packages available for hen parties, including action packed obstacle courses. However if you're on a budget creating your own is a great alternative, and you can be as outlandish and creative as you like.

Our very own Katy Evans (Deputy Editor of our sister title Knitting magazine) recently planned a hen do including a bride-to-be assault course. The hen first had to quickly don a charity shop bought wedding dress before speedly completing lots of stereotypical wifely duties including: 'ironing' a shirt, changing a nappy on a doll, changing a duvet cover as well as finishing off by painting a portrait of her future family.

Image From Vintagecakestands .blogspot .co .uk

If you're looking for something more elegant then try hosting a vintage tea party, because what's more civilised than sitting down for a good old-fashioned cup of cha? 

You can source mismatch antique china from charity shops, and set the scene with flowers, antique lace doilies, bunting and pretty floral table cloths. Get your guests to all bring a cake or dainty snack, and push the boat out with unusual teas and perhaps even a cheeky long-island ice tea or two. 

To get everyone talking play some party games like a hen do version of Mr & Mrs - google offers plenty of websites with suggestions of the kinds of questions you can challenge your bride-to-be with, but remember to get the answers from the groom in advance! 

Porridge Article Step -by -step Images
Create your very own spa day from the comfort of your home, with a glass of bubbly or ten thrown in for good measure.

This gives you a lot of scope and it's a wonderful way to get all the guests bonding whilst they create their very own face masks, scrubs and foot soaks. And the best part? You can make all kinds of luxurious pampering products from everyday ingredients you'd find in your kitchen cupboards. Click here to try out our porridge face scrub recipe. 

                         51tne YF49WL

For even more inspired party ideas perfect for hen do's and stunning handmade projects I'd strongly recommend checking out Girls' Night In by Hannah Read-Baldrey - click here to find it on Amazon.


Well, I hope that these tips and ideas have inspired you to throw your very own handmade hen do. We'd love to hear back from anyone who gives these ideas a go or comes up with their own unique crafty hen party activities. Share your tips or pics with us on our facebook or twitter page. 

Sneaky peek at the July issue of Making

Tanya Blake

Tanya Blake

7 June 2013


Our July issue has a host of pretty projects for summer garden parties and we were lucky enough to have the use of this stunner of a location to conduct our photo shoot (isn't it lovely?!); perhaps the most surprising part of the day was that it was actually SUNNY!



Scene Of House

The stunning location for our July photo shoot

Setting Up The Garden

Our Editor, Emma, and stylist Lisa Brown setting up a beautiful table full of lovely projects that will appear in our July issue

Dog

The team were lucky enough to have an extra set of paws on the day!


Bunting

You can't have a party without bunting! Look how happy it's made our Deputy Ed, Sophie! 

Emma Framing The Shot

We're loving this pic, we believe  Emma is 'becoming one with the shot'. 

Emma And Amelia

 

Here is the dynamic duo that is Emma Noren and Amelia taking some snaps of the stunning paper projects by Lydia Crook that are appearing in this issue. 

Cake!

 

Cake! Need we say more?

Carrot And Butternut Squash Soup

 

Thanks to our hosts for providing us with this delicious carrot and butternut squash soup!

Relaxing Dog

The surprise sunshine got a bit too much for some, well photoshoots can be very exhausting daahling.

Well that's it for our sneak peak at the July issue photoshoot - keep your eyes peeled for it hitting the shelves on the 20th June!    

Craft for Boston: My Exploration Into Craftivism by guest blogger Katie Sonin

Tanya Blake

Tanya Blake

4 June 2013

 Katie Sonin
Katie Sonin

In the days following the Boston Marathon bombing I struggled to keep life going as usual for my two young boys, manage the household while my husband was traveling, and try to come to terms with the maelstrom of emotions inside me. Heartsick, lonely, feeling helpless - I also found myself unable to craft (a shocker as those who know me always see me working several projects at once). I didn't know any of the bombing victims personally, but soon had word that several friends of a friend of a friend were among the critically injured. How do you find meaning and purpose when everything around you has been upended?

Although I am a Boston girl through and through, I had enjoyed life in New York City for 4 years working in the fashion industry and putting myself through design school. After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, I suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I was basically unable to get through a day with out breaking down in tears multiple times, feeling lost, vulnerable, unable to stay focused. I came home to Boston - far from the sirens, the smoke, the dust and debris, the bomb scares - to begin the healing process. I took up embroidery - basically copying every stitch in an encyclopedia of embroidery to pass the time between therapeutic appointments. It was incredible how the meditative qualities of crafting soothed my mind, brought me outside of myself and allowed me to start slowly feeling hopeful again. 11 1/2 years later, I was facing another terrorist attack close to home.

Pins And Needles

Katie discovered the therapeutic benefits of craft when recovering from PTSD.

In the first week after the Marathon Bombing, I discovered my desire to help far outweighed any signs of PTSD this time. I kept saying, "I don't know what to do...I have two idle hands and a ton of crafting supplies - there must be some way I can help." While neighborhoods all around me were in lock-down during the police pursuit of the surviving bombing suspect, I sat in the eerie silence e-mailing near and far in search of advice on how to help others through craft. Were there others feeling as I did? Could we come up with a plan together? Several members of the 2 year old craft group I founded began sharing all sorts of ideas. But how to implement them on one's personal shoe string budget? One dear member suggested I learn the story of the Tsunamika doll from her home country of India as a frame of reference. This simple craft, developed by the Design Studio of Auroville, utilises scrap materials and provides skills and livelihoods to several villages once decimated by a mammoth tsunami. These sweet little dolls bring immeasurable joy to the makers, buyers and recipients alike. What would be my simple craft made with heart to lift spirits near and far? Martha and Annisa at Shoreditch Sisters, WI and Sarah Corbett at Craftivist Collective all suggested that I start small and just see what happens.

Lavendar Sachets
Starting small: Katie decided to raise money by teaching people how to embellish handmade lavendar sachets.

I had enough fabric scraps, draping muslin, buttons, ribbon and embroidery floss at home to teach a large group how to embellish and hand sew lavender sachets. I would invite people to come, craft and bring a donation for the One Fund, Boston. Anything we make would be a keepsake for the crafter or someone they love. A local lavender farm owner not only agreed to discount the cost of lavender, but also gave me a large gift basket of lavender products for a silent auction. She even hand delivered the basket to me (a 2 1/2 hour drive from her farm.) My husband, Juhan, offered up his design studio as my venue. All of a sudden, I had the makings of real event! Soon I had members from my group offering up some supplies, auction items and their helping hands before, after and during the event. A friend in Juhan's studio created and posted fliers with me. I contacted our town offices, local shops, e-mail lists, Facebook friends and several newspapers as well as created an event website for promotion and registration. I have never done this before, so it was a real learn-as-you-go experience!

One Fund

Katie's collection jar with a crafty twist.

I think I would have been thrilled if I had found even a couple people interested in this sort of craft fundraiser. The day of our event on May 22nd, I was scrambling to find enough seats - we were over our intended capacity and had a waiting list several people long! 21 people gathered together at Juhan's gorgeous studio, many of them I had never met before. Our youngest attendee was about 11 and she ended up making the most sachets of everyone! We reunited with old friends, made new ones, celebrated a birthday, learned, sewed, laughed and created something more than just our hand sewn sachets, we created a community, a sense of camaraderie, joy and hope. We also managed to raise $418 for the One Fund. My craft group and I are now gearing up to host a second fundraiser for the Marathon Bombing victims in June. A beautiful paper crafting chain store here in the States called Paper Source believes in what we are doing too! Their 3 area shops are donating supplies for us to host a card making night and a gift certificate for a silent auction.

Craft For Boston
Craft for Boston in full swing.

A week before our first event, I told my friend Emily that whatever we managed to raise would be just a small drop in the bucket compared to those in need. Emily wisely reminded me that it may be a small drop when you look at the large scale, but that small drop can make significant ripples - touching and enriching the lives of many. I keep thinking of a quote Sarah Corbett had posted in a Craftivist Collective blog entry a while back, "The smallest deed is better than the greatest intention." 

Feel inspired? Then have a look at the following websites to see how you can get involved in Cratifist events:

www.craftivist-collective.com

www.auroville.org

www.onefundboston.org

Great Gatsby inspired home decor

Tanya Blake

Tanya Blake

23 May 2013

 

The Great Gatsby has seen it's latest re-imagining in film form this year with Baz Lurhmann's visual spectacular. All it's deliciously vintage glitz and glamour has had a huge influence on fashion and will be filtering down into a highstreet near you soon. Here's our favourite picks for 1920s inspired home accessories...

 

Custom Made Home No

Get your house number displayed in stylish Art Deco style with this custom made sign - www.casasugar.com

Velvet Settee Dwell Studio

A chic and sophisticated velvet sofa from www.dwellstudio.com 

Metallic Throw Pillow - West Elm

Get a hint of 1920s glamour into your home with this frsoted metallic diamond throw cushion from www.westelm.com 

Gatsby Art Deco Bevelled Mirror Notonthehighstreet .com

Or how about a modern take on Art Deco style mirrors from www.notonthehighstreet.com

Veronese Coffee Cup And Saucer From Royal Crown Derby

This utterly chic Veronese coffee cup and saucer is perfect for elegant dinner parties. www.royalcrownderby.co.uk

Art Deco Bedding - Serena And Lily

Contemporary muted colours are combined with classic Art Deco pattern making this bedding from www.serenaandlily.com a must-have. 

Tiered Art Deco Chandelier - Restoration Hardware
Add a touch of 1920s drama to your interior with this stunning fringed glass chandelier from www.restorationhardware.com

Champagne Coupe Williams -Sonoma

Celebrate in Gatsby-esque style with these chic hand-cut crystal coupes from www.williams-sonoma.com

And finally we absolutely adore this stunning Deco Diamond wallpaper designed by Wayne Hemingway for www.grahambrown.com

Deco Diamond Wallpaper By Wayne Hemingway - Graham And Brown

So now you've seen our favourite Gatsby looks let us know what you think and how you'd create the look in your home...

Sneaky peek at the June issue of Making magazine

Tanya Blake

Tanya Blake

8 May 2013

 

'What oh what is going to appear in the next issue of Making?!' I hear you all calling! Well so many of you are clamouring to find out I thought I'd give you a cheeky little look at what went on at the recent photo shoot for our nature inspired June issue, on sale 23 May 2013.



Emma By Table

Our editor Emma setting up a project ready to be photographed.

Lisa Hammering The Wall
Stylist Lisa Brown, fitting in a bit of DIY.

Setting Up

Who said there was time to sit down, eh?! 

Chest Of Drawers

A beautiful chest of drawers - learn how to recreate the design and painting techniques in our June issue.

Hairslides

And get a load of these stunning peacock hairslides.

Butterfly Dome

Or how about this gorgeous butterfly dome?

Model

And here's the lovely model Laura-Ann getting beautified - see her wearing our pretty floral summer dress and infinity scarf in the June issue.

We hope this has whetted your appetite for the next issue of Making, there will be plenty more lovely projects to discover so put our on sale date of 23rd May in your diary!

Make Me Workshop - Shabby chic review

Gemma Bowles

Gemma Bowles

1 May 2013

 

With all the beautiful projects we get sent in each month it's hard, even for a crafty novice like myself, to not feel a little inspired. The notion of upcycling has always appealed to me and my love for all things vintage only spurs my curiosity on. However, where does a beginner like me start? And how do I find the time to learn?

Luckily the answer to my wishes arrived in the form of MakeMe workshops, situated inside a beautifully restored decorative garden, deep in the heart of Surrey. I was invited to join a furniture painting workshop by the brains behind MakeMe, Melissa Merchant.

The studio itself was as beautiful inside as it was out. Filled with examples of the final products of other MakeMe workshops, it felt warm and inviting, not like a classroom at all which did wonders for calming my beginners nerves.

Photo 2[1]

Melissa uses the best possible products in all of her workshops

We were introduced to our teacher, Jo Mabbutt, decorative artist and queen of all things crafty. As a nervous novice I could not have asked for a better tutor, Jo was very open and friendly as well as professional and informative.

To begin with we were shown numerous techniques to use when bringing new life to old and tired furniture. But so we didn't ruin our final product, we were able to practice on sample pieces of pine, after all practice makes perfect! Some of the helpful tips we were taught included how to get the perfect shabby chic look by using different paints, staining wood and emphasising the wood grain.

Photo 3[1]

My painted samples, ready to be experimented with.

As the class sizes are so small and intimate we were able to chat whilst learning. It was a perfect opportunity to swap and share craft tips and ideas.

After admiring our sample pieces of wood we had a break for a while with tea and biscuits (yum!). In this time Jo opened herself up for questioning about furniture painting and how we could develop our skills. It was wonderful to learn first hand from someone who knows the industry inside out. The atmosphere was more like friends catching up over a cuppa rather than a teacher-student relationship.

 Photo 4[1]

Before…

 Now it was on to the final piece, we were each given our own wooden tea tray to design and paint. I decided on the classic shabby chic look. With a grey undercoat and an off white top coat I used all the information I had learnt in the 3 hour class to create something beautiful. If a problem arose, Jo was there to guide us through it.

Photo 5[1]

A close up of tarnishing the tray for a vintage look

Since the class, I feel like I've had the drive and the knowledge to tackle bigger projects in my own home. The advice I gained from the class will defintely aid me in developing my confidence to take my love of vintage style and shabby chic furniture to another level.

"This sounds all well and good Gem, but I'm more of a sewing fan," If this sounds like you then don't worry, MakeMe offers a wide range of workshops and classes from sewing to paper craft and there's even a chocolate workshop. There really is something for everyone at this very unique craft business.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Jo and Melissa for a wonderful day at MakeMe workshops.

Photo 6[1]

  To find out more about the classes on offer at MakeMe workshops just click here.

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