Upcoming content- what to expect from A Little Mad Smith

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We’re going lifestyle baby! 

Yes, hold on to your hats ladies and gentlemen, A Little Mad Smith is becoming a lifestyle blog as of today.

“But Maddie, wasn’t this already a lifestyle blog?” I hear you cry! Well, yes, it was, but I had a mental rule that said every post must have a specific purpose, like a recipe or DIY. As of today the rule book is going out the window, and I will be posting whatever content I fancy.

Please do not be alarmed! Recipes and DIYs will still be a frequent feature here on A Little Mad Smith, especially when Summer comes around and I have some more free time. But in the meantime I thought it’d be fun to share with you some of the more mundane stuff about my life, so you can get to know me a bit better.

Check out my new and improved “About me” page to see what I mean!

So what sort of things can you be expecting to see from me over the next few months?

I’m hoping to get some more chatty posts up here, monthly favourites, morning routines etc. I’ll also be aiming to post some throw back posts for you all on a regular basis, to keep that creative content coming!

If I can commit to taking a photo of my face that I don’t want to immediately delete, I would absolutely love to start getting some makeup tutorials up for you all seeing as I’m a makeup addict. I’m also hoping to get some “Sister Style” and fashion posts sorted when I’m back home over Easter! Maybe some OOTDs? Who’d like to see that?

I’ll also be giving you some tips on dealing with stress, balancing a degree and a healthy lifestyle, and coping with loneliness as we get closer to exam season.

WHAT ELSE WOULD YOU GUYS LIKE TO SEE?

Please let me know what else you would be interested in seeing! Are you excited for the change? Or have you already gone and unfollowed me? (lol please don’t).

Have an awesome day,

Maddie.

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One month of blogging!

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Wow, that went fast! A Little Mad Smith is one month old today (can we get a hip hip hooray?) and I just wanted to share a little post to say thank you so much to all my lovely followers and readers of this blog. Your support over this past month has meant the world to me- I am over the moon to see that my blog has been received with so much love all over the world! I never would’ve thought that people in hometown would have been at all interested in my craft projects and recipes, let alone people on the other side of the globe! So thank you to all who have shared, liked and commented on my posts, and thank you, yes you, for taking the time to read this.

I hope I can continue to produce content that you find interesting, entertaining and inspiring. I already have a thousand crafty ideas and tasty recipes that I am dying to get stuck into and share with you all in the near future, so I do hope you stick around!

As a little celebration of our one month birthday, I’ve put together some of my favourite posts from over the past four weeks. I hope you can find something that inspires you to get crafty and try something new!

Fabric Flowers DIY– This is one of my favourite mini sewing projects of all time. I love the vintage look of these and they’re a great method of using up excess fabric. I also think that they make a beautiful addition to any handbag.

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DIY Photo Holders- This DIY was a super simple project that produced great results! And all you need is a pebble, some paint and a bit of wire. What could be better?

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Peanut butter and Chocolate Cupcakes- I cannot describe to you how good these tasted, but believe me when I say, they were goooood. Like, seriously, you need to try these.

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DIY Patchwork cushion cover– This beautiful DIY is a great project for those wanting to try out patch working, and its a great way of using up scraps of fabric. I love how this turned out.

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Domino’s style cookiesThe inspiration behind this bake was my favourite fast food cookies. Served warm, these soft squishy cookies are truly divine. Why not give them a try?

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DIY painted glass lanterns– This DIY is a great project for the kids to get involved with. A great way of using up excess jars, my DIY glass lanterns are the perfect addition to any evening garden party.

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Drawstring bag DIY– Drawstring bags are so useful and so versatile! My drawstring bag DIY gives a simples method for making your own drawstring bag that can easily be adapted into a child’s PE kit bag ready for back to school.

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Well there you have it guys, just a selection of some of my favourite blog posts from over this past month. I hope you enjoy them if you didn’t see them first time round, and please let me know if there’s anything else you’d like to see up on the blog over this next month! In the meantime, remember that there’s plenty of other projects to keep you busy in the craft and food sections of my blog- why not have a look?

I’m always looking for new ideas and crafty inspiration.

Hugs and best wishes to you all,

Maddie x

 

Packing for university

Packing for University

Leaving home and going to university is probably one of the biggest life changes you’ll face in your teenage years. It’s now fast approaching that time of year again; I’m sure some of my readers will know someone who’s starting uni (or college) this Autumn- or maybe it’s you! If so, congratulations!

For those who aren’t aware, I’m a second year student at Lancaster University, England. I study Theoretical Physics with Mathematics, and live in student halls.

Soooo, I was thinking that some of you might be interested in hearing about my experiences from over the past year and what I’ve learnt. I plan on doing a series of posts all about student advice, what I wish I’d known and insights into other areas of student life- is that something you guys would be interested in?  Today’s blog post is the first of the lot- my tips on Packing for University.

 

  1. Pack your creature comforts! – This is probably the most important piece of advice I could give. Moving away from home for the first time can be quite a daunting experience, at least it was for me. I’m very much a home bird- I love my bed, my blankets, my candles, my tv. Basically, I love everything that makes home home. Now, I know packing space may be limited, but I cannot stress how important making room for your homely trinkets is. Whether it be ornaments, posters, a colourful throw- bring things that will make your dorm feel like your space. It’s so important to have a homely space where you can relax and be yourself.
  2. You’re not Gordon Ramsey – Let’s be real guys, how many of you are really going to use an electric whisk? Or one of those massive kitchen knives that look like they’ve come out of a horror film? Or a garlic crusher? Leave it at home. It’s so easy to get carried away when purchasing your kitchen supplies for uni and accumulate enough to kit out a small kitchen. Don’t do it! Realistically, you’re not going to be cooking full, restaurant standard meals. I found that two saucepans, a frying pan, one good quality knife, a chopping board and a baking tray are enough to provide you with some good home cooked food without overdoing it. Your kitchen space is limited, and do you really have the cash to spare on a steel bread bin when you’re shopping on a student budget?
  3.  Don’t go hungry – A mistake most people make when moving into university is not taking any food with them for when they arrive. You’re probably not going to have chance to get to a supermarket on your first couple of days living in halls, so I always advise taking your bare basics with you to move in. I’m talking tea, coffee, biscuits, cereal. Get some snack food in so you don’t have to rush out to the nearest food store as soon as your stomach starts to rumble. I’m lucky enough to only live forty minutes away from Lancaster, so I also take chilled goods like milk and butter.
  4. Pack for the climate – Wardrobe space is limited in student halls. If you’re going to University in England or a similar climate, don’t pack summer dresses and shorts for your first term! Winter is coming (lol), so pack for it. Save space by only bringing clothes that are appropriate for the weather that you’ll be having that term. There’s no need to bring your whole wardrobe with you! You can rotate your clothes every time you go home to stay seasonal and sensible.

Well there you are guys, that’s my top four tips for packing for university. If there’s anything else you’d like to know, please ask! I’m happy to help. Are you going to university this time? Let me know!

Hugs to you all,

Maddie.

 

 

 

Drawstring bag DIY

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Hi guys! Today’s blog post is a simple and super cute craft project for all you sewers out there. Draw string bags are a great way to give presents, carry PE kits and store your odd bits and bobs. For me, I like to keep my makeup brushes in one, especially when I’m travelling. It keeps everything clean and prevents things from getting lost (which, if you’re anything like me, you NEED in your life).

I came up with this idea when I was thinking of things to do for this month’s blog posts. My mind went immediately back to my first textiles lesson at high school, where our first project was a simple draw string bag to use as a PE kit bag. I’ve jazzed it up a bit by choosing to line the bag with a contrasting fabric and using ribbon instead of cord, and I loved the result! If you fancy making your own, find my step by step instructions below! 🙂

You will need:

  • Two fabrics
  • Ribbon/ Cord
  • Fabric scissors
  • Sewing machine
  • Safety pin

So what do you do?

  1. First things first, you want to cut out your fabric. You can change the size of your bag depending on what you want it to be used for. For my bag I cut two rectangles measuring 26cmx40cm, one from my lining fabric and the other from my outer fabric. You then also want to cut a strip of fabric measuring 5cmx40cm, this will be used as the casing for your ribbon or cord.
  2. On the strip of fabric that will make your casing, with the right side facing you, fold  the ends over by 1cm and neatly stitch these down to create a hem on either side. Then, fold the strip in half lengthways, right sides together, and machine stitch along the long edge, leaving the two shorter ends open. This will create a sort of tube. Turn this tube the right way out and voila, you have your casing.
  3. Now, fold your fabric for the outer bag in half and machine stitch down the side and along the bottom, leaving a few inches in the side open. You will use this hole to turn your bag the correct way around later. Fold your lining fabric in half the same way and stitch down the side and along the bottom.P1220977
  4. Place your lining fabric inside your outer fabric, right sides together. P1220979Stitch the lining to the outer fabric around the top. This will be the opening for the bag. Turn your bag the right way around through the hole you left before in the side seam! This will hide all those unsightly edges 🙂
  5. Poke the corners of your bag out using a pencil or knitting needle, then press it using an iron. Pin your casing on the outside of your bag, about 3/4″ from the top. Stitch this along the top and bottom, as close to the edge of the casing as you can. P1220985
  6. To help pull your ribbon or cord through the casing, attach a safety pin to the end and feed it through; this will make the process much easier for you- trust me!
  7. Congratulations! You are now the proud owner of your very own drawstring bag!P1230006.jpg

 

 

 

 

Sleepy Sunday and bias binding

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So a few weeks back my grandma told me that she had a blanket that was fraying around the edges and asked if I could do anything to help it. Sounded easy enough, I’d thought at the time. I told her I’d give it a go, thinking I’d edge it with bias binding.

Today was the day I chose to tackle the job. After spending the morning lounging around at Jason’s house, I thought it’d be nice to sit down with my sewing machine for a couple of hours and have some me time.

Now incase you haven’t already guessed, edging this blanket was not as plain sailing as I’d first thought. In fact, it was pretty darn stressful. I hadn’t seen the blanket when my gran first asked if I could do it, but looking at it today I saw it wasn’t going to be the easy job I’d been expecting. The weave had quite a lot of stretch to it and I had a hard job to edge it with the cotton bias binding my gran had purchased for the task. It had also frayed by different amounts in different places, and the edges were no longer straight.

It’s not my sewing style to put a load of pins in my work before machine stitching and I never tack, looking back this might have been a good idea. I did manage to attach the binding in the end without stretching the blanket too much out of shape, but I’m not completely happy with the finish. (My gran, however, will still be over the moon. You know what grans are like, I could present her with a blanket edged with Duct tape and she’d still think I was the cleverest granddaughter in the world).

As well as the stretch, this blanket had a good few holes along the edges, meaning I had to patch parts of it before binding it. In short, it was all a bit of a nightmare.

I’m also not keen on the colour of bias binding my gran bought, but hey, that’s personal taste. I think a navy bias binding would have looked pretty awesome with it!

But anyways, this was a sewing project that didn’t completely go to plan, but it’s been a good learning curve (always look at the item before agreeing to fix it! being one of the main things to bear in mind for the future).

Have you guys had any projects that didn’t quite go to plan? What’ve you leant from it? Let me know in the comments!

Maddie.