A rather bad attempt at pumpkin carving! (What else?)

P1230952.jpg

Hey guys! So it’s finally here, the scariest night of the year, Halloween! It’s been a weekend of fun filled Halloween activities up here at uni; I may have not taken part in the clubbing, but I have been getting in the Halloween spirit nonetheless. (Probably the saddest sentence of my life right there, I do go out clubbing sometimes, I swear…)

Jason actually came up to visit this weekend, so most of my time has been dedicated to watching films under heaps of blankets, eating lots of food and going for coffee. I did, however, manage to squeeze in a bit of pumpkin carving before he arrived.

P1230951

Ok, so this guy is supposed to be a little hanging bat. I know, I know, this is NOT up to my usual artistic standards. Unfortunately, my pumpkin carving process this year was a much more rushed affair. I usually spend a few hours at in, but this year I had to squeeze it into a mere forty minutes. It was just a consequence of the sheer amount of work I had for uni, and trying to get everything done before Jason came to visit on Saturday.

I’m not as proud of the result as I have been in previous years, but it still ain’t half bad. And besides, it’s the process that makes pumpkin carving so fun! I had loads of fun creating this little bat design, even though I didn’t get to spend as long on it as I’d have liked!

Typically, being at uni, I’m also not allowed naked flames in my bedroom, so my pumpkin is sans candle. I’m pretty gutted that I couldn’t take any funky pictures of this little guy glowing eerily in the dark, but I did put my phone inside with the torch on and that looked pretty cool, haha!

P1230956

I love pumpkin carving. I think it’s such a fun and creative activity at this time of year! I’d never actually tried pumpkin carving until fairly recently, in the big scheme of things. I may have done it when I was really little with my mum, but throughout most of my childhood and early teenage years I don’t remember doing it. I guess my mum didn’t want to leave me to do it until she could trust me to handle a knife on my own (which in actual fact she still doesn’t; I almost sliced my thumb off at the start of uni last year, but thats a whole other story). But she trusts me a bit more with knives now. Ish.

For the past five years (I know this exactly, thanks to good old Facebook’s ‘look what you shared five years ago’ posts), I’ve had a go at pumpkin carving on my own. When I’m at home I always take the time to sit down and plan my design out, before merrily setting to work hacking away at my pumpkin. I actually really enjoy getting all the guts out, which I know is some peoples least favourite part of the whole process. But for me its super satisfying, whilst being really gross and slimy; perfect for Halloween, am I right?! 

So that’s all from me today, I hope you enjoyed this post guys, despite it not being my usual style! Would you like to see more of this type of chatty post, or should I just stick to making stuff? Haha!

Best wishes to you all for this Halloween, whether you be spending it Trick or Treating, partying or just watching a scary movie and hiding behind a cushion. Or if you’re just staying in with the lights off pretending your not home to avoid the Trick or Treaters!

Have a wonderful and blessed day guys, best wishes to you all!

Maddie x

 

My Uni room tour!

 

Hey guys! First things first, I have to apologise if I don’t seem like my usual cheery self in this post. It’s been one of those days and I’m just starting to come down with a cold, but I didn’t want to leave you with no post today! 🙂 Today was also my first day back at University- I know, I know, we start sooooo late here!– so it’s safe to say I’m feeling pretty frazzled.

But now to what this post is about! Today’s post is my uni room tour (‘Wow, really Maddie? We’d never have guessed- it’s not like you called it that!’). This is my second year living in student halls, and I have had a room like this for both years. Seeing as I’m incredibly nosey curious and LOVE looking at people’s accommodation and housing, I figured some of you may be interested in seeing what kind of accommodation I live in while at University, and also how I choose to decorate my room while I’m here.

P1230823.jpg

You can see pretty much all of my room on this photo. I am stood near the entrance, and to my right is a small wet room consisting of a toilet, sink and shower. I also have to apologise for the terrible quality of these photos! The lighting made it really difficult to get a good shot- sorry! This photo also gives you a good idea of the amount of storage I have in my room. I’m very lucky to have a lot of shelving over my desk-something that is very much necessary for a crafter! I also keep all my folders and textbooks up here. You can also see three drawers: one for hair products and styling equipment, one for makeup and one for underwear. Then there’s also my wardrobe; it’s a double wardrobe with plenty of space for my clothes and shoes; it also has a large shelf at the top where I keep all my cleaning equipment and an over night suitcase for when I go home for the weekend.

As you can see, I have a single bed against the wall featuring a quilt that I made last summer. I am incredibly proud of this quilt! It took me months to complete it but I love how it looks; on a side note it also washes really well! You have probably also noticed the abundance of blankets on the end of my bed- I get super chilly during winter, and seeing as the heating is turned off over night I find it best to wrap up!

P1230821.jpg

The paintings behind the bed are my own work, acrylic on canvas. I haven’t really mentioned it much on my blog before, but I love to paint. You’ll probably spot a few more of my paintings dotted about as you look through the other photos. I love having my paintings up at uni, as it makes my room feel like home!

P1230816.jpg

I always have a vase on my windowsill, although sadly it is not always filled with flowers! I keep it here for the occasions when Jason brings me flowers, and I also sometimes buy my own to brighten up my room a bit.

P1230814.jpg

My record player is probably one of my favourite things in my room, it’s a bright orangey-red Crosley make. I love vintage style and music, and it’s so relaxing to be able to have my records playing while I work at my desk. My vinyl collection is stored just above it on the built in shelving.

P1230829.jpg

Behind my desk is a really large notice board that I can pin things to. I covered this with two posters as soon as I got here; a world map and a doctor who poster (I’m such a nerd). I pin my fairy lights up here too, just under my shelving.

P1230811.jpg

The wall next to my bed also has some of my paintings stuck up on it. I hate the colour of the walls at uni, it’s a really ugly off white, so it’s nice to add a bit of colour and personality to them.

P1230834.jpg

I would not be able to get by without my TV while I’m away at uni. I wouldn’t say that I’m a tele-addict, but having a spare hour to just relax and watch a tv show at the end of the day keeps my stress levels low. I study a very full on and (at least for me) challenging subject, and I think I’d really struggle without that downtime.

P1230835.jpg

Here’s the view from the other end of my room (left) and my ensuite (right): not quite as pretty as the window end, but it does give you an idea of how much space I have here, which I thought some of you would like to see. You also get a little sneak peak at some of my other paintings that I have tacked up on my ensuite door.

Untitled design-2.png

So there you have it guys! What did you think? I actually really like my accommodation here at uni. I’m very lucky to have an ensuite, and I love making my room feel like home by adding all my little finishing touches. My paintings and my posters are probably the most important things for me here, as they make my room feel much more personal.

Would you guys like to see more like this post? Let me know! I hope you enjoyed it, and I will be back on Wednesday with a new travel post- so keep your eyes peeled!

Best wishes to you all,

Maddie x

 

One month of blogging!

happybirthday-2.png

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.

P1220865

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?

P1220876

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.

P1220689

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.

P1220746

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?

P1220794

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.

P1220772

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.

P1230006

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.

 

 

 

How I attach Bias Binding

resolutions

Hey guys! It’s finally Friday! I’m afraid that due to a very hectic working day today I haven’t had chance to put together my usual projects for the weekend post, I have however got a small post for all you sewing enthusiasts out there! If sewing’s not really your thing, why not check out some of my previous posts for some weekend inspiration?

So you may have seen my recent post about my battle with my gran’s blanket. If you didn’t, why haven’t you been keeping up to date with my blog?! Jokes, thanks for being here now! But if you did you will know all about my struggle of bias binding the edges of said blanket.

After publishing that post it occurred to me that some of my readers wouldn’t know what bias binding was, and also some of you would probably like to know how to use it! Hence today’s post: How I attach bias binding. I called this post ‘How I attach bias binding’ rather than ‘How to attach bias binding’ as I’ve never actually been shown how other people do this. I’ve just sort of tried a few different techniques over the years and eventually found one that works for me, which is what I’ll be sharing with you today.

So what is bias binding? 

Bias binding is something used for covering up raw edges when sewing garments or things like quilts. Its basically a strip of fabric with the two edges folded in and is bought on a roll, kind of like a cotton ribbon with the two edges folded over.

How do you attach it?

Well I can’t speak for everyone else, but this is how I attach bias binding to my projects.

  1. Fold the bias in half lengthways and press it with an iron. When you have done this you will have three folds in your binding, the two it is purchased with and then the one you have just added.
  2. Pin your bias along one of the outer folds to the raw edge of your fabric as shown below. I was adding the bias binding to a blanket that had started to fray at the edges, hence the mess poking out from behind my bias! Not to worry, all this will be encompassed by the bias binding once we have attached it 🙂P1220938
  3. Machine stitch along the fold where you have pinned.P1220941
  4. Fold the bias over the raw edge of your fabric, encompassing the edge. You want the centre fold that you have pressed into the bias to be on the edge of the fabric. Pin this into place as shown.P1220940
  5. You can see now that you have two neat edges on either side of your bias binding, exactly what we wanted! Machine stitch close to the edge.P1220942

There you have it! My way of applying bias binding. I’ve used this technique to edge a quilt and also to make bunting; two projects that I will be sharing with you in future blog posts!

I hope this may have been of some help for those of you wanting to try out something new with your sewing! Leave any questions or comments below!

Best wishes to you all,

Maddie.