Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Meet the Maker: Lucy @ Lucy Made Me!

And Aloha to another blooming lovely crafty maker...
It's only in the form of the loveliest Lucy I know!!!

Who are you and what’s the name of your business?
Hello I’m Lucy from Lucy Made Me! 

Where are you from?
My friends laugh when I get asked this because I always say, ‘near Gatwick’ because nobody has ever heard of the little village I’m from which is in between Redhill and Horley in sunny Surrey! It’s a great location right in the middle of the London to Brighton mainline so I can hop on a train and be at either destination within 30 minutes. There’s also plenty of farmland and rolling countryside so it’s the best of both urban and rural living!

Cuteness personified or what?!

What’s your favourite colour?
I’m a rainbow girl so I love bright contrasting colours, patterns and designs. When I was little I use to dead head my Grandparents’ fuschia plants with an old pair of rusty scissors and I remember the beautiful shades of hot pink, red and purple. I also like shades of turquoise, however, if we’re talking sweets then it’s green all the way – starburst, winegums, fruit pastels, jelly babies, skittles even jelly! 

What’s your favourite food?
This is a tricky question but I would have to say bread and butter. Plain and simple, a really nice slice of homemade crusty bread or roll and a big dollop of butter. It has to be butter. 

How would you spend your perfect day?
My perfect day would start early because I like to get up and about and it would involve heading down to Brighton for an early morning wander round the north lanes, antique shops and market where you can pick up some great bargains and find all sorts of quirky items. I especially like the stall selling French haberdashery. There would also be a few stop offs at my favourite fabric shops then heading back home to sew outside in the garden until the early evening, followed by a BBQ with friends and family.

Lucy's favorite haberdashery stall in Brighton (also my favoritist place in the world!!)

 What do you make?
The short version would be handmade gifts and accessories for the home! This includes lots of soft furnishings like cushions, draft excluders and bunting to rosette badges, door signs, coin purses, lavender hearts, make-up bags and gadget cases to name a few. I really enjoy mixing old with new and source vintage materials as well as modern prints and designs for my products. I also hand paint and decorate a lot of my items including wooden hearts, boxes, dolly pegs, coat hangers, key rings, coasters, and alphabet letters. Each item is individually made, painted, or decorated by hand so no two items are every the same adding character to every piece.

 Lucy's stall at Gorgeous Gerties

What’s your favourite thing you’ve ever made?
Another good but tricky question! I would say it’s the first zipped cushion cover that I ever made with my Nan, it was my first time at putting zips in and we did it in her sewing room one Christmas. My Nan did one side and I did the other, it was a cowboy print fabric with red polka dot on the reverse. It was probably one of the most valuable and useful skills my Nan ever taught me because I’ve lost count how many cushions I’ve made since and it also meant I could make other things with zips like coin purses and make-up bags. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without her showing me. I learn best by example and watching a demo rather than reading manuals, I’m the person who doesn’t read the instructions!!

Why did you start your business?
I grew up watching my Nan make, alter and mend on her trusty Pfaff sewing machine and when I was five she gave me my first pair of knitting needles. These were a grown up pair of 8 inch needles that my Grandpa had sewn down to fit my small hands! My first make with these needles was a red and blue knitted scarf for my toy rabbit Boxy. And that’s how it first started. Over the years both my Mum and my Nan encouraged me to make things and by the time I inherited my first sewing machine from my Great Aunt I had collected a stash of fabric that had grown into an uncontrollable obsession. My Nan and I spent hours upstairs in her sewing room as I began making small items for family and friends which led to bespoke orders and personalised gifts. My Nan and I soon realised we couldn’t store everything we were making so in October 2012 I set up Lucy Made Me and did my first craft fair in a church hall and it was a great success. From there I began selling more at local craft fairs and markets which led to my products being stocked at a high street retailers and a garden centre. And so here we are! 

What are your inspirations?

For me this question is more who than what and it would be my Nan. She taught me everything I know about sewing and she gave the best advice and the biggest love. I miss her everyday but I’m surrounded by lots of things she made me and I use her sewing desk and cutting table so she’s everywhere and still a huge part of LMM.

What would be your one tip for anyone taking up a new hobby, or turning that hobby in to a business?
The best advice I can pass on to anyone thinking of turning their hobby into a business is the advice my Nan gave me: ‘Don’t work so that you get too weary and tired. Remember to take time for yourself. All work and no play’. I need to remember this! If it becomes a chore you’ve just ruined a hobby you love. Make sure you enjoy it, my mum also told me a great quote recently and that’s, 'Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.' Mums and Nans always know best!

And there she is, that was lovely Lucy!!
If you'd like to see more of her lovely makes, more of what she's up to, trust me, it's definitely worth a gander, or do a little bit of shopping, just click here!

See you soon,
Ms Bee

Sunday, 27 April 2014

A weekend in the life of Ms Bee...

After a pretty horrendous week, I thought stuff it!! Shopping, good food, chatting with one of the besties and playing with her daughter, and of course a bit of crochet! This weekend's been all about me!

Love Ms Bee

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Yummy Easter Goodness!!!

Happy Easter everyone!!
Here's a fab Easter treat for you to make over the weekend...
I've made it and it was sooooo yummy! The best bit is that you can add your favorite things to it, I used mini-eggs, jelly beans, marshmallow, and some Freddo's. Mine didn't look as exciting and Eastery as it could have, so I've used pics from the original recipe as it looks AMAZING!!!
You'll need:

  • Approx 600g dark chocolate
  • Approx 50g rice crispies or similar cereal
  • Approx 180g white chocolate
  • Gel/paste food colouring in your choice of colour (this isn't essential, it just looks a bit prettier!)
  • Lots of sweeties
  • Sprinkles of choice - I added popping candy!!
    1. Line a baking tray with greaseproof/baking paper.
    2. Melt around half of the dark cocolate until the chocolate has almost melted but still has some lumps.
    3. Stir in the rice crispies, and spread the mixture into the baking tray in a very thin layer. Let sit for around half an hour so it cools and sets a bit.
    4. Heat the remaining dark chocolate and stir until smooth. Spread the chocolate overtop of the first layer.
    5. Melt the white chcolate and stir in the food colouring. Pour sparingly over the dark chocolate and swirl about with a knife (or a spoon... or a skewer... anything swirlable really!).
    6. Let the chocolate harden a little, and while it's still soft add all of your sweeties and sprinkles! Let it set until it's hard, and then cut into wedges using a large, sharp knife. Store at room temperature.
    Original recipe can be found on Sweetapolita 
    Happy Easter!
    Love Ms Bee

    Tuesday, 15 April 2014

    Meet the Maker: Fran @ halfpinthome

    You're in for another blooming treat today... 
    It's only the incredibly clever halfpinthome!!!

    Hello, I am Fran and I made a little business called halfpinthome.
    I was originally born in Harrogate but I have lived in Cheltenham, on a farm near Tockwith, and now I live in lovely York, which makes me feel very lucky indeed!

     What’s your favourite colour?
    That's like asking which chocolate I prefer.... I will say Charbonnel et Walker Pink Champagne truffles, which also come in a beautiful round pink box with gold lettering, but really any chocolate will be enjoyed should I happen to see it!

    What's your favorite food?
    Ha! Pink, or green, or blue, or grey, but always with a side order of yellow or white!

    How would you spend your perfect day?
    Outdoors in the sunshine, discovering art at the Yorkshire Sculpture park with my family, including a little lunchtime sketching, if we discount the sudden need to board a plane.....dinner at The Windmill restaurant in Skiathos with friends and a few bottles of champagne, the rest would be a happy blur of laughter.....

    What do you make?
    Personalised cushions and bunting with fabric designed for halfpinthome, height charts, birth prints, wall art, cards, sticker charts, weekly planners, party bag notebooks, stickers ....... I make everything I think of that I have time for! The ideas bit and how you can bring it into reality is my favourite bit. I never want to stop that part. Sometimes it's a long, hard process which you can feel rightly proud of at the end and other times it's like snapping your fingers it's so fast.

    What’s your favourite thing you’ve ever made?
    Tough, tough question! I am so lucky to love my job as much as I do. I enjoy all the things I create and design....... I think my favourite requests are custom/bespoke pieces like a wall decal I made for a client last year. It was personal to her and went along side helping her design the nursery and making other pieces for it. It's really very lovely to be apart of some one's life and know they will enjoy what you have made them.

    Why did you start your business?
    I wanted to make all the things I day dreamed about, to be arty and feel fulfilled.

    What are your inspirations?
    Anything and everything, I've also said it many times before but it is true, my kids are a massive source of inspiration, in fact if it wasn't for them I am not sure I would have taken this path. I always quite liked the idea of writing art text books if I am honest! Raffi draws pictures at some point everyday and I see so much in them, they are mostly black and white but they are so characterful and I absolutely love a child's simplification of things, it's just brilliant. So much in so little. Amazing. Alanna is all about the colour and I love that too, how colour can inspire a huge smile just with crayons is just, well, brilliant too. Apart from the kids children's book are unlimited for looking at styles and types of illustration and typography...... and Paperchase is by far my favourite shop. But ART, I love art, as much as possible and as varied as possible, at any time or place.

    What would be your one tip for anyone taking up a new hobby, or turning that hobby in to a business?
    Everyone's journey is different, I don't believe there's a magical tip, but doing it for the love of it is a good place to start.                              

    So, that's the incredibly talented Fran!
    If you'd like to look at more of her lovely makes or would like to place an order
    you can also find her here!
    Lots of love,
    Ms Bee

    Wednesday, 9 April 2014

    First Days of Spring...

    Its here! Spring's finally blooming here!! The sun's shining, flowers have made an appearance, winter coats have been put away, the Easter decorations are up, and there's little lambs all over the place!
    I do love spring! I don't really have a favorite season as they all have their advantages... Anyone out there got a favorite one?
    There's also a little springtastic Easter giveaway over on my Facebook page...
    Love Ms Bee

    Thursday, 3 April 2014

    In pictures: March

    So, now we're in to April, I thought I'd share my March highlights!
    For the most part Mr Bee's been super busy at work, and I've been a busy little bee crocheting away and sorting out boring behind the scenes stuff. However, we did squeeze in a weekend in St Ives, some silliness, yummy food, and some shopping!

    Love Ms Bee

    Tuesday, 1 April 2014

    Super Gooey Choccy Brownie!

    Now, my regulars will know that I love a bit of baking, I occasionally bang on about my amazing chocolate brownie recipe that never fails to get those
    "I don't like chocolate"
    types coming back for more... And today I'm going to share my recipe with you!
    I originally got the recipe from Angel Adoree's The Vintage Tea Party (fabulous tea party book, you should all definitely buy it!) and tweaked it a bit to taste.
    It's also super fab as it's gluten free, and wheat free, yet still super yummy!
    • 250g (about 8oz if you've got cool old scales like mine!) of the best dark chocolate you can afford (as you can see, mine's only cheap stuff but high in cocoa)
    • 250g butter (preferably unsalted if you want my opinion!)
    • 175g (about 6oz) caster sugar
    • 3 large eggs or 4 normal sized ones
    • 3 tablespoons of ground almond
    1. Melt the chocolate and butter together. Microwaves, in my opinion, are evil, especially when chocolate's involved!! I always melt mine the good old fashioned way!
    2. When it's all melted together add the sugar, and keep stirring until all of the lumps have gone, and the mixture's silky smooth.
    3. Poor into a mixing bowl and allow to cool down a bit. Now's also a good time to pop your oven on! I have mine on around 160-170*C on a conventional oven.
    4. Add the eggs, and mix in well.
    5. Finally add the ground almonds. If you like nutty cakes, its also lovely with chunks of almonds added in too!
    6. Spoon it out into an oven safe dish. I usually use a large ish pie dish, but it was dirty, so here I'm using an 8" square one. Just remember this if you're using a different sized baking tray!
    7. Pop it in the pre-heated oven for around 20-25 minutes, until the outside is baked but it's still a bit wobbly in the middle. At this point, turn off your oven, but leave it in there for about another 10 minutes. When you take it out, pop it on a cooling rack still in the pan/tray, when it's cool it needs to be kept in the fridge really as it's sooooo gooey you'll get in a right mess otherwise!!
    And voila! The best gooey choccy brownie in all the land!!!

    It's fab straight out of the oven with a dollop of ice-cream, and is lovely straight from the fridge, but I prefer it once it's been out of the fridge for around an hour.... It's so gooey and lush and complete melt in the mouth heaven!!!
    It's also yummy if you add marshmallows, cherries, or a little glug of your favourite tipple!!
    love Ms Bee