Last-minute makes!

Sophie Mould

Sophie Mould

16 December 2014

Winter Issue - Mistake!

Abigail Cox

Abigail Cox

11 December 2014

Oops, very occasionally we make the odd mistake (it happens to the best of us), and regretfully we mis-credited our photographer for the rather gorgeous Winter issue (55). 
Please note that Pete Jones (www.pjproductions.co.uk) was responsible for all the main shoot and cover photography throughout this issue, and not Emma Noren as stated.

Fur Jacket 328

Guest Blog: Salt Dough Christmas Decorations

Abigail Cox

Abigail Cox

8 December 2014

With the festive season creeping up on us, these salt dough Christmas decorations are a great way to ease in to it all and are perfect to decorate your home and Christmas tree. Plus, using just three ingredients, this DIY is perfect for those looking to decorate on a budget. It's also a great DIY to work on with friends or family; why not challenge each other to make specific decorations or make some as personal gifts for others. 
You will need: 
For the dough
• 1 cup Flour
• 1/2 cup Salt
• 1/2 Water
Tools
• Rolling pin
• Cookie cutters
• Knife
• Stamps (optional)
• Permanent felt tip pens
• A pencil
• Ribbon/string

DSC_0031 (1)

How to make the decorations:
• Add the flour and salt to a bowl and mix well. Add the water bit by bit (you might not need it all). 
• Once mixed, knead the dough until smooth. 
• Roll out the dough to approx. 1cm thick, then using cookie cutters or working free hand, create your decorations. Circles are great for baubles or Christmas puddings if you want to keep things 
simple, or if you're feeling adventurous why not try Christmas trees or snowflakes!
• (Optional) Use rubber stamps on some of your decorations to add detail.
• Using a pencil, create small holes through the tops of your decorations. Make sure the pencil goes all the way through the dough as you will need this hole to hang the decorations. 
• Bake your decorations to dry them in an oven on a very low heat (around 100°c) for around 3 hours. Check regularly.
• Once cool, use felt tip pens to add colour to your decorations. Why not add initials or names of family members if you intend to give the decorations as gifts? 
• When you've finished decorating, thread your decorations onto some festive ribbon or string, and you're all done!

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20 something creative who belongs by the seaside.
Usually found crafting, baking (gluten free) or creating of some sort.
Harry potter lover, thrifty & eco thinker, and could listen to Laura Marling every day until the end of time.
Skye

National Stress Awareness Day: Embroidery is best!

Abigail Cox

Abigail Cox

4 November 2014

The Royal School of Needlework (RSN) based at Hampton Court Palace, says that many of the 1000 plus students come on hand embroidery courses each year attend thanks to the therapeutic and stress-relieving benefits of embroidery which helps them re-focus their lives when in difficult circumstances.

The process of creating and following a design requiring total concentration; the soothing methodical and repetitive motion of taking a needle and thread up and down through fabric; the slow progression of a project as a antidote to the speed of everyday life and the use of colour to express emotion have all been quoted by RSN students as explanations of how embroidery helps them cope with the stresses of life.

Star

Image courtesy of Anna.

The current emphasis on ‘slow crafting’, the popularity of the BBC programme ‘The Great British Sewing Bee’, numerous craft clubs, online forums and magazines giving easy access to designs projects and the inspiration of communities of like-minded people, all add to the stress-busting benefits of creative activities.

Jaqueline Nuttall from the International Stress Management Association (ISMA), says, ‘Although there are no scientific studies to support the claim that embroidery helps tackle stress, in general hobbies are considered to be stress reducers as is the social interaction of doing embroidery in a group environment.’

Vine

Image courtesy of Yumiko.

RSN Chief Executive, Dr Susan Kay- Williams says, ‘Embroidery is well known for its healing properties. In the First World War soldiers were taught needlework and other craft skills as they convalesced from the experiences of battle. In 1945 the RSN established an advice service for hospitals and nursing homes offering guidance on how best to teach embroidery to recuperating servicemen. Today the RSN’s courses attract a wide range of students, both men and women, including doctors, teachers and lawyers, who have chosen to use their limited free- time to learn embroidery and generally de-stress.’

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Royal School of Needlework 

The Royal School of Needlework was founded in 1872 and is the international centre of excellence for the art of hand embroidery. Based at Hampton Court Palace in south west London the RSN offers a range of embroidery courses from day classes for beginners, a Certificate and Diploma course, a Future Tutors programme and a Degree programme – a BA (Hons) Hand Embroidery for Fashion, Interiors, Textile Art. As a unique institution the RSN teaches regionally throughout the UK in Exeter, Bristol, Rugby, Durham and Glasgow and internationally in the USA (San Francisco and Williamsburg) and Japan (Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya). The RSN Embroidery Studio undertakes new commissions and conservation work. Clients have included fashion designers, Oscar nominees, cathedrals, private individuals and the Royal Family.

Leaf

Image courtesy of Chris.

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International Stress Management Association – National Stress Awareness Day

This year, the 16th National Stress Awareness Day, will be held on Wednesday 5thNovember at venues all over the UK and promises to be an exciting and fruitful one. Our theme is Stress: the balancing act. It is sometimes difficult to keep the balance right in terms of work, play and lifestyle. Helping to raise awareness of the numerous solutions that are available to achieve this balance is an important one in ISMA’s calendar.

www.isma.org.uk/

Sewing Bee: Children in Need Special - Episode 2

Abigail Cox

Abigail Cox

24 October 2014

Once again, I'm spilling all the secrets from the latest episode below - so if you haven't seen it, catch up on iPlayer here!

This episode was brought to you by the lovely Sara Cox and Patrick's not so lovely moustache! It saw Louis Spence (Pineapple Dance Studios), Gaby Roslin (the telly) and Mark Watson (comedian) pitted against (the clearly pretty talented) Pam Ferris (Miss Trunchbull in Matilda!). I must say, it did strike me as slightly odd that three out of four celebs admitted to a total lack of sewing experience to then face one who would "probably be doing this if I wasn't acting"... but, all in the name of charity I suppose!! 

Group (3)

Challenge 1: The Pattern 

The celebs are given a pattern for pyjama trousers and shoot off to the haberdashery. While Pam is careful about her material (kindly sharing all her wisdom with Mark), Gaby's choice is disco-fantastic - and not what May would choose to wear in bed! My heart went out to Mark, while he carefully pinned a snipped, the rest ploughed ahead (i.e. cut corners!) and left him floundering. Unfinished, Westwood inspired pj's aside, Pam shone with her animal print pair (and sneaky handmade drawstring) while Louis’ classic navy pants come a close second - showing his attention to straight lines paid off!

Pjs

Challenge 2: Recycle

Using only one of a rainbow selection of kiddies onesies, the sewers are tasked with creating an animal costume – simple, right Mark?! Frustrated by the un-animal like colours, Mark searches for inspiration until the very last minute, redeeming his zebra fish ‘costume’ with a poem (although how the imaginary child would have worn said costume is anyone’s guess!) In what could only be classed as a strop, Louis attacks the front of his (lovely!) ladybird costume to ‘punk it up a bit’ – landing himself joint third with Mark. Gaby and Pam fight it out over stuffing, but in the end it’s Pam’s regal rooster that comes out on top.

Louis

Cockerel

Challenge 3: Bespoke

For their final, and most intense, challenge the celebs must make a skirt that tells a story personal to them. Louis dances and prances his way to a lycra rah-rah skirt (‘because I never got to wear one!’), although his rolled hems impress even May – it’s his choreography that takes up most of his time! Gaby’s Alice’s Tea Party skirt is bold: there seems to be a theme to Gaby’s creations – with her very glamourous dragon covered in sparkles…who ever said less is more eh? She chastises Patrick for even suggesting embellishing the back as ‘you need to sit down at a teaparty!’ Quite right, Gaby. Pam creates a stunning London sunset skyline for Peter Pan, and wins the day (congratulations – it really was top notch Pam!) but I think a special mention should go to Mark who managed to produce his first completed item of clothing, with darts and embellishment to boot! If only May had been his model…

Mark Pants

That’s all for now folks, but tune in tonight at 8pm, BBC2 for the final episode! Anita Rani hosts, while Gemma Cairney, Helen Lederer, Kathryn Flett and  Timmy Matley put their sewing skills (or lack of) to the test.

Don't forget, every item made is put on eBay, so get bidding - it's all for charity! Click here to buy buy buy!

 

Sewing Bee: Children in Need Special - Episode 1

Abigail Cox

Abigail Cox

22 October 2014

Warning! I will be giving all the games away below. So why don't you catch up with episode 1 on iPlayer

Since the Bake Off finished, evenings in front of the telly have felt distinctly un-crafty! But thankfully we've been treated to a three part Children in Need Great British Sewing Bee special! 

Jenny Eclair presided over the first episode, which saw Dave Myers (one half of the Hairy Bikers), Edith Bowman, Dr Dawn Harper (Embarrassing Bodies, Ch4) and Wendi Peters (Coronation Street) battle it out (more with their sewing machines than with each other) to be crowned Star Sewer (same principle as GBBO right?!)

Group (2)

Challenge 1: The Pattern

Kicking off with a 'simple' A-line skirt, it's clear that some of these celebs are more proficient with a Singer than others - yes, Dave, we're looking at you. Alexander McQueen may have gotten away with bum-skimming waistbands, but I'm not sure it's worth trying again! (Talking of style faux-pas... seems Patrick's channelling Tom Selleck this season!) 

Patrick

Congratulations to Dawn for her cherry print skirt, we love the pompoms! 

Challenge 2: Recycle

Faced with rows and rows of garish Hawaiian shirts, the celebs groan in unison - other than Dave who heads straight for an eye-watering orange print. Wendi's summer dress was a worthy winner, but I definitely think Edith's Elvis-inspired cape should have come out on top! 

Edith

Challenge 3: Bespoke 

The celebs were asked to create an iconic dress from the era of their choice. Although Jenny mocked Dave's 'simple' 60's shift, I think he had quite a job making it so form fitting - and look super to boot! Dawn created a fab fringed flapper dress and matching bag, but the real contest was between the two 50's tea dresses! At the end of the day, Wendi takes the biscuit with her perfectly executed embellished evening gown - congratulations!!

Wendi

The BBC aren't just content with entertaining us with comediennes and sewing catastrophes - they've put all of the celebs makes on eBay to raise money for Children in Need. You can bid here!

Next time, Sara Cox takes the helm, while Gaby Roslin, Pam Ferris, Mark Watson & Louie Spence take their turns behind the machines. Episode 2 is on tomorrow (Thursday 23rd) at 8pm, BBC2

Guest Blogger: Bristol Makers

Abigail Cox

Abigail Cox

13 October 2014

Bristol has been on my list of places to visit for a few years now and I STILL haven't got around to going. Everyone I talk to about Bristol says that once you live there you never want to leave. With that in mind I did a bit of research on their designers and makers to see just what Brizzle has to offer in the craft stakes. I was not disappointed!

Laura Snockels

Laurensnockels

First up we have Lauren Snockels, an artist, maker and sculptor. I was first drawn to these awesome hand crafted russian dolls. Lauren is commissioned by lots of designers to make their visions and has even worked on film sets making props.

[image source - bristol creatives]

Malobi

Malobi

Next up we have Malobi who makes these awesome cat caves. I love their contemporary design and your cat would be happy as larry tucked up in one of these awesome alternative cat beds.

[image source - etsy]

Cool 4 Cats 

Cool 4 Cats

I absolutely love papercutting and making anything out of card or paper and was over joyed when I stumbled across Cool 4 Cats. They specialise in pop up paper kits and this circus themed lion kit is amazing.

[image source- cool 4 cats]

Amanda Colouring In 

Amanda Colouring In

I am a big fan of birds and anything bird related and Amanda colouring in is taking embroidery and bird prints to the next level with this one. This embroidery bird print is amazing!

[image source - etsy]

ByBrophy 

Byprophy

Last up we have these awesome kids chairs by ByBrophy. The cloud design is super cool and they were recently featured in August 2014'a issue of Vogue! I wonder if they make them for grown ups?!

[image source - etsy]

Claireculley

She's Called Claire

Claire Culley is a blogger and one half of creative hub Super+Super. Her favourite crafts are printing and papercutting. Addicted to crisps. Big animal lover. Her first books, Printmaking and Embroidery, are out in October and will be available from www.thegmcgroup.com.

 

 

November photo shoot: behind the scenes

Abigail Cox

Abigail Cox

24 September 2014

An authentic, chic 1950's home was the backdrop for the November issue photo shoot - and boy, it was gorgeous?! With panoramic views of sprawling lawns, it was easy to forget you were a mere five minutes from the town centre. The house was built in the early 1950's by a (clearly, super talented & ultra modern) architect and the family have kept it in pristine condition ever since. Our contemporary themed projects looked wonderful in situ - Jemima's cushion collection seemed to have always been scattered on the sofa, while Tash's 50's cocktail was the perfect thing after a long busy day of shooting! (I even did a bit of modelling in Vanessa's frilly pinnies!)

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Vanessa's lovely reversible bag is the subject of much discussion.

_MG_6535

Desperately avoiding looking at the food.

_MG_6575

"Put some wallpaper on a pinboard" Simple right?

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...Apparently not - needs two to get it straight!

November's issue hits the shelves 9th October, so put it in your diary now!

MM53 Final Cover (1)

 

Guest Blogger: London Makers

Abigail Cox

Abigail Cox

3 September 2014

Following on from last months post about Brighton makers, this month we are focusing on showcasing some amazing London crafters, designers and makers. Once again I was spoilt for choice, as it seems our capital city is packed to the rafters with creativity!

Luna on the Moon

Lunaonthemoon

First up is Luna on the moon. I’m sure I am not the only one who has jumped on the fruity accessory bandwagon…give me a watermelon or a strawberry any day! This jazzy pineapple handbag MADE WITH GLITTER is the perfect accessory for this season.

[image source: etsy]

Rosie Wonders 

Rosie _wonders

Rosie Wonders first caught my eye on Instagram a few months back. I kept seeing snaps of peoples amazing temporary tattoos and decided I needed to investigate. Rosie also makes greetings cards and jewellery in her signature style.

[image source: rosie wonders]

Crispin Finn

Crispinfinn

Crispin Finn consists of two London based creatives, Anna Fidalgo and Roger Kelly. They have been working together since 2008 and their style is instantly recognisable. They only use red, white and blue in their designs and I happen to have this awesome tea towel framed on my kitchen wall!

[image source: crispin finn]

Laura Gee

Laura Gee

Laura Gee’s etsy shop ‘Oh My Gee’ showcases her awesome illustrated homewares. This beardy man cushion, handsewn by Laura herself is called Malcolm. Hello Malcolm.

[Image source: etsy]

Lucy Sparrow

Lucy Sparrow

Last but by no means least we have Lucy Sparrow from Sew your Soul who you may well recognise as the creator of the crafty corner shop that has recently popped up in London. Lucy spent 8 months creating an entire corner shop made out of felt and it has recently been unveiled. You can go visit it at 19 Wellington Row, London, E2 7BB.

[image source: sew your soul

Claireculley

She's Called Claire

Claire Culley is a blogger and one half of creative hub Super+Super. Her favourite crafts are printing and papercutting. Addicted to crisps. Big animal lover. Her first books, Printmaking and Embroidery, are out in October and will be available from www.thegmcgroup.com.

Guest Blogger: Brighton Makers

Abigail Cox

Abigail Cox

20 August 2014

In the first of a series of articles looking at makers around the country our first stop is the sunny seaside town of Brighton. Brighton’s craft scene feels like it is massive at the moment and as a person who likes to support local makers and independent shops I am most definitely spoilt for choice when it comes to showcasing the best of this Brighton bunch.

Hello Dodo

Hellododo

Image source: Etsy

Hello Dodo is a dream team made up of husband and wife Jam & Ali. They are a screen printing duo who design prints to make people smile. All of their work is bright and fun and guaranteed to brighten up any wall or mantelpiece.

Lou Taylor

Loutaylor

 

Image source: Etsy

Lou Taylor is the master of papercutting. She uses paper and a sharp scalpel to create intricate papercuts that are full of colour. She has now launched a jewellery collection from her papercut designs and I am particularly fond of these spider plant earrings.

Rockcakes

Rockcakes

Image source: Etsy

Rockcakes is a one woman operation ran by Sarah Meredith. A professional jeweller who works with semi-precious metals, wood and acrylics. All items are handmade in her studio in Brighton. This brooch set is the perfect gift for any stationary lovers.

I like Cats

Ilikecats

Image source: Etsy

If you like cats then you are in good hands with this guy. Maker Toby, who resides in Brighton makes handmade accessories, jewellery and illustrations for the cat lovers amongst us.

Faye Moorhouse

Fayemoorhouse

 

Image source: Etsy

Talking about animals I bring you the last but by no means least maker that I am going to share with you today. Meet Faye Moorhouse, an artist who loves all things strange and magical. Her custom wonky pet paintings are definitely my favourite.

 

Claireculley

She's Called Claire

Claire Culley is a blogger and one half of creative hub Super+Super. Her favourite crafts are printing and papercutting. Addicted to crisps. Big animal lover. Her first books, Printmaking and Embroidery, are out in October and will be available from www.thegmcgroup.com.

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