• Other stuff

    Mollie Makes Blogging – A Review

    We interrupt your football watching for some Mollie Makes news!

    Mollie Makes Blogging is pitched as the magazine to help create the blog you’ve always dreamed of. It’s a 180-page special edition priced at £9.99 and available in most major stores – WH Smith (where I found my copy), Tesco, Asda, etc or coming soon as a e-zine for tablets.

    almond rock Mollie Makes Blogging special edition review

    Would you like to hear a bit more about what you will get for your money before you go out and buy this hefty tome?

    I’ve always found the design and style of Mollie Makes impressive; it’s an inspirational and beautiful magazine that speaks to my aesthetic. But I rarely buy a copy as I’ve never truly felt I would leave with something tangible from reading (this is what stops me buying most magazines if I’m honest, but perhaps I’m just a book girl at heart).

    I have to say, I do love the website (probably as it’s so accessible and just as stylish), and now I am also a fan of this special edition.

    almond rock Mollie Makes Blogging special edition review

    This one-off ‘zine (don’t you die a little bit inside when you use that abbreviation?) still has a little bit of the fluffy filler material all magazines are guilty of. But it also has a lot of clever, well-pitched and valuable material in here to.

    Content is divided up into easy to use sections –

    • “Inspiration” – Themes, Typography and Logos, Favourite Blogs, etc.
    • “Advice” – Tips from A Beautiful Mess, Photo editing, Building Links, etc.
    • “Know-How” – Hosting, Customising, Analytics, Plug-ins, Glossary, etc.

    Plus a large variety of “Meet the Blogger” interviews (Brittany Watson JepsonElsie Larson, Pip Lincolne, Will Taylor and many more) and a number of intense guides in the “Blogging Must-Reads” section (cheat sheets to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest).

    almond rock Mollie Makes Blogging special edition review

    It’s nice to read about the people who run some of the most successful lifestyle blogs – their schedules, most popular posts, and what they do outside of the blog to earn money, as well as learn a bit more about their personality and back stories. I also really enjoyed the piece on Blogtacular and think I might attend next year!

    There are a small number of pages dedicated to inspiration for starting a blog, but much more focused on improving your content, post strategy, presentation and marketing. I especially enjoyed the tips on social media marketing and focus on widgets and apps I wasn’t aware of such as buffer and linkwithin.

    For instance, Pinterest; I could be using this so much more as a blogger and not just as a pinner to interact with other users, promote my sewing projects and drive traffic to my blog. Similarly I’m letting my lifestyle dictate my posting schedule; I share content on Instagram or Twitter when I grab five minutes right before bed or on a Wed lunchtime when I frantically finish a post, aka times where my posts can be easily overlooked.

    almond rock Mollie Makes Blogging special edition review

    There’s no shame in admitting you want your blog to be successful and there for no shame in buying a magazine to help you on your way. And if a few small tweaks helps increase your stats that’s surely worth the cost of the mag, right?

    This magazine won’t help you learn much about building a community, teach you about using seo effectively (seriously, I don’t understand how this isn’t featured more) or help you learn css to code your own web design (which I don’t blame it for not tackling). Don’t buy if you’re after any of those things.

    Now I’m not currently focused on making my blog profitable but I’ll keep this mag on my shelf in case that day comes as there are helpful articles about affiliate advertisement, sponsored posts and tips for diversifying enough to make a career out of your blog.

    almond rock Mollie Makes Blogging special edition review

    Plus I noticed an ad for a special Mollie Makes Photography which, after reading this well produced special, I will probably go out and get.

    Now I just need to see if I talk myself into buying the Blog Love 2.0 course. Or talk someone into buying it for me as a Birthday present.

  • Other stuff

    Shopping list as long as my arm

    As I think you’ll be well aware, for the MC blogger team’s June garments we are all making fancy frocks in celebration of the Minerva Crafts Meet-Up event Saturday 14th aka TOMORROW!! We’re going to have a little blogger celebration after the day for the awesome awards the Network has won.

    almond rock Minerva Crafts Meet up reveal

    There’s a whole day of fun that’s open for everyone remember. I really hope to see as many of my readers as possible there! You can watch me burn through my paycheck.

    As we aren’t revealing our finished dresses before the event, you are just getting a teaser today. I hope you like what you see!

    Clue no.1

    I’ve made a dress I made recently. I didn’t say at the time but it was totally a “wearable muslin” for this party dress. It’s not exactly the same as the pattern includes variations that I’m taking advantage of.

    almond rock Minerva Crafts Meet up reveal

    Clue no.2

    I’m using a fabric used by a fellow blogger and friend at the end of last year. Do you recognise it? It is beautiful cotton sateen in reds, greys and pinks. I’m pairing it with a luscious crepe-like satin (I mean seriously luscious, I could have made my whole dress out of this stuff).

    Intriguing I hope? Because I was in the mood to make an effort I added a few extra touches to make my dress extra special.

    Including a handpicked hem to make it as invisible as possible (everyone who knows me, knows handsewing is a rare thing in these parts). I used hem tape in a coordinating colour to do this and then neatly picked through to the front periodically. Can you see my stitching!?

    almond rock Minerva Crafts Meet up reveal

    I also added support to the waist by stitching thin ribbon in the seam allowance, almost like a waist stay. This will stop the sateen from stretching out.

    almond rock Minerva Crafts Meet up reveal

    Finally I’m adding sew in boning to the sides of the bodice for support.

    Right! That’s all I’m telling you. You’ll have to look out for the big reveal across social media and the blogs over the course of the weekend! 

    Look forward to seeing many of you Saturday.

    I’ll be the one loud and proud in my red stripey sundress!

    almond rock stripey sundress minerva crafts

  • Other stuff

    Fabric covered belt – The Highlights

    Hello everyone!

    Thank you for your comments on my recent post. I wore the dress to a wedding this weekend and confirm after a few hours on the dancefloor that it has excellent swishy movement! During my post, I promised to talk a little more about my fabric covered belt.

    butterick 6582 almond rock fabric covered belt

    I used a quick and easy method of making a thin semi-flexible fabric belt with a pronged buckle. If you prefer something sturdier there are links to additional tools and directions at the end. My belt was made using an amalgamation of tutorials also listed at the end.

    So! There are a few things I had out on my table when getting started:

    • Belt buckle – I picked up mine from a car boot sale as it’s a great place to find vintage buckles. Alternatively eBay generally have a good supply of them.
    • Eyelet pliers/tool – Generally any tool you buy will include a pack of eyelets. You might even find a full kit that includes a rotating hole punch (see below)!
    • Eyelets – I also picked these up from a car boot sale, hence the funny storage tin.
    • Seam ripper – if you don’t have revolving punch pliers to make 3 mm holes in your fabric, your seam ripper will be fine.
    • Chalk pencils – so you know where to poke your holes!
    • Finally some drafting tools – paper, pencils and a ruler.

    butterick 6582 almond rock fabric covered belt eyelet pliers

    Here are the highlights!

    Measure your waist, adding about 8 – 10 inches to the length (You need extra for installing a pronged buckle and so your belt extends round you without looking short).

    Then measure the bar for your belt buckle. Ignore the prong for now. This will be the finished width of your belt.

    butterick 6582 almond rock fabric covered belt vintage buckle

    “Draft” a paper pattern that uses your length and width, then add seam allowance all the way around. The belt should be cut on the grain. Cut two of your fabric and one of stiff fusible interfacing. Sew it up around the two long sides and one short, trim seam allowances, turn the right way and press the heck out of it.

    For the buckle, mark about 2 inches in from the unfinished edge at the centre width of your belt. You can either add a hole and an eyelet here, a tiny buttonhole or if your belt won’t get worn often just seam rip a little hole about 3 mm in size. Thread the prong of the buckle through the eyelet/buttonhole/hole. On the back of the belt, fold the free unfinished edge around the back of the buckle, turn under and hand stitch in place.

    butterick 6582 almond rock fabric covered belt eyelet pliers

    Mark your first eyelet at the point on the length where your belt will fasten (drape your belt around you to check) and be sure that your mark is at the centre width. Then mark additional holes at 1 inch spaces until you’re about 3 inches from the end of the belt.

    Make the smallest of holes with your seam ripper. Insert an eyelet face up through the hole (aka the broader side is the top and that will show on the front of your belt). Insert the plunger of your pliers through the wrong side of the hole in the fabric, you will see it is now sitting inside your eyelet. (See below without any fabric in the way).

    butterick 6582 almond rock fabric covered belt eyelet pliers

    Press firmly and the back of the eyelet will be crushed securely around your fabric. Repeat until all your eyelets are in place.

    If you’d like, you can add another small strip of the fabric to make a stay to hold the tail of the belt in place when it’s buckled. Measure out a piece 1/2” wide and long enough to wrap around whatever width belt you’re making and overlap neatly at the back. You can stitch the ends together in place so it will never move.

    Or slip the finished ring over the belt and down towards the buckle end, just don’t let it slip off one day!

    There you have it! Your very own fabric covered belt!

    butterick 6582 almond rock fabric covered belt eyelet pliers vintage buckle

    Additional supplies and tutorials

    There is the option to use belting inside your belt which will be quite firm but I find those belts a little less forgiving after lunchtime. Also you will struggle a little more to punch the holes through belting and will definitely need to use metal eyelets rather than plastic ones. This belting is not nylon webbing for bags or seatbelts, it’s a flexible buckram strap and it sort of reminds me of the casing plastic boning comes in.

    Rotating hole punches have the ability to punch through leather, fabric and card and can be set to punch holes of varying sizes.

    Full tutorials:

    Burda Style “belt kit belt” tutorial

    Elegant Musings Beltmaking 101

    Elegant Musings Leather Bow Belt

    Coletterie: Fabric Covered Belt Tutorial

    Tilly’s Bow Belt Tutorial

  • Other stuff

    Minerva Crafts Meet Up!!

    Wow it’s been a quick week for me. But I think it’s been a good one. I was kindly given a lindt bunny that I know will be delicious. But there was also an incident with a pigeon I’m trying to forget. Hey ho!

    So my real reason for posting I wanted to tell you to book some train tickets!

    Come meet me and several other bloggers from the Minerva Crafts Network at an awesome Minerva Crafts open day this June.

    I mean look at this line up!? Having met Karen a few times in person I can guarrantee she’s as charming as in her blog. I’m really looking forward to seeing the By Hand London girls too (I’m really really tempted by Flora at the mo!). Plus any mention of Great Britsh Sewing Bee sends me into hysteria!

    And wow have you seen the photos of the store? It’s like sewing nirvana!!

    If you are intending on coming to the Minerva Crafts Meet-Up, please leave a comment for the team at Minerva on either Facebook or Twitter (use hashtag #MinervaCraftsMeetUp).

    See you all there!!

  • Other stuff

    Notionally speaking

    Hello everyone!

    Just a quick message to sadly say there’s not been much sewing going on in my home this week.


    However I am over on Claire’s blog talking about seam finishes. I’m the latest participant in her Notionally Speaking feature. Take a look!

    So I’ll leave you with a few pics from the past few days. In the meanwhile I need to figure out how to get some sewing done as I’m booked up every night this week!





    Candy coloured houses, personalised glittery labels, the torture of not getting the final crossword answer and hanging out with a very soppy dog.