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Showing posts from August, 2015

A long weekend of crafting!

Hurrah for the Bank Holiday weekend! Even though we only came back from camping in beautiful Norfolk a few weeks ago, I'm already feeling like I'm ready for another holiday. I'm rather hoping we can go to the fire fiesta in Valencia next Spring, but after we had to scrap our planned trip to London this month I'm hoping we can sneak in another weekend somewhere before that.

In the meantime, I'm planning on making lots of beautiful things this weekend. I've been having fun creating marbled clay feathers which I'm going to turn into necklaces (maybe even with a bit of gold leaf... hmm..) so I need to photograph those and share the how-to with you guys. I'm really loving working with marbled clay, and I've been having a great time over on Pinterest collecting inspiration for colour combinations. I also need to get some mounts so I can finish my embroidered book pages and maybe even get them listed in my Folksy shop.

I have some packages to pick up from …

The Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair returns

For my day job, I’ve been writing about students from the Manchester School of Art who have been chosen to show at this year’s Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair. But it’s such an amazing event, I wanted to write about it here, as well.
The GNCCF runs from October 8th to the 12th, and this year will be at Old Granada Studios. Organisers are promising that there will be pop-up studios, craft workshops, and Artist in Residence and an Installation Artist making exclusive work at this year’s event.
In addition to our 11 students (and one lecturer!), visitors will be able to see work by a total of 175 designer-makers in a variety of disciplines including interior and fashion textiles, glass, jewellery, ceramics, metalwork, furniture, print-making and more. Visitors can learn about the inspiration, materials, making process and stories behind the work.  
Angela Mann and Ann-Marie Franey founded the GNCCF in 2008. Ann-Marie said: “There is a growing fascination with how items are made and…

Business savvy & craft articles in the papers

I remember a time when there seemed to be loads of articles on craft on the newspaper websites. Sadly that's not the case any more - we've been overlooked in favour of 10 New Things To Do With Your Spiralizer* - but there's still the Guardian's excellent "Do Something" series. I know, I know, I am soooooo late to this party, but I loved this article on making things from clay (and the fact it was written by my University friend Becky, all the better!)

The Guardian also have this useful article for anyone thinking of setting up a craft business. However, as lots of us will know, it's not necessarily the initial push that is the hardest part, but keeping the excitement and inspiration going year after year. That's why I'm planning a series of interviews with craft sellers who have successfully run their businesses for five years or more, to find out how they keep their fires stoked.

* I should admit here, I own a spiralizer. I'm not even repenta…

DIY: Embroidered writing on book pages

So once I got started with the embroidery thread and the book pages, I found it difficult to stop…
Yesterday’s blog post dealt with embellishing an existing illustration, but from there I started to get more ideas. I’d seen lots of cute embroidery hoop wall arts with words – why shouldn’t I do that with silks and paper instead?
First I found a page that was covered in text, then (after a few practices on a piece of scrap paper) lightly wrote the word that I wanted to embroider on to the page.
Then just as in the previous project, I used a needle to punch holes along the lines for the stitches to follow (this is very important if you want to avoid tearing the paper), then backstitched along. I was so pleased with the outcome! I’m going to combine the illustrated pony, this page and another idea I have in mind (wait and see!) to create a gorgeous collage for my friend’s little girl – all made out of her mum’s book.

Once I’d done one page, I started to play about with fonts and colour…

DIY: Embroidered illustration

The other day my friend and I were looking through her books from her childhood, picking out the ones that she wanted to read to her little girl. Sadly, one of them hadn’t stood the test of time, and had lost many of its pages. Rather than throw it away, I suggested she give it to me, and I would try to turn it into something nice. Actually, I have so many ideas for what I can do with it which I’m excited about sharing with you over the coming weeks.

The first thing I wanted to do was preserve one of the gorgeous illustrations. The book was Mice & Mendelson by Joan Aiken, featuring a fluffy, hairy pony and his two mousey friends. The illustrations were really cute, and reminded me of the Thelwell pictures I loved as a pony-mad kid (before I became a pony-mad adult).

I decided to use embroidery thread to embellish one of the pictures, so after cutting it out I punched holes using a needle along the lines I wanted to follow. I then split skeins of thread in half, so there were three…

DIY: A quick and lazy plantpot fix

My lovely friend Laura gave me some succulents this week that had sprouted from her own incredible collection (she's far more green fingered than me). As they're still growing, I didn't want to plant them up in fancy pots, but the plain old plantpots looked a bit drab on my windowsill, so I cut strips of patterned paper to create sleeves for them to sit in. Easy to make, easy to change - just be careful that you lift them out before watering!

From this....

To this!

Favourite crafty blogs: Number One!

It's Mollie Makes!

The website to accompany the UK's most gorgeous craft magazine is a treasure trove of projects, ideas and inspiration. I particularly love their recent feature on "10 ways to use t-shirt yarn". All the images are fabulously pinnable, and they're very generous with the freebies - from how-tos to desktop wallpaper. All in all, a craft lover's dream!

Favourite crafty blogs: Number Two!

Lia Griffith is a "designer, maker and handcrafted design expert". She's also a goshdarn genius when it comes to running a DIY blog - hers is lushly photographed, inventive, original and easy to understand. Her wedding printables are so gorgeous they actually make me want to get married! head over for inspiration on how to put some luxury into your crafting. And next Christmas I am definitely making a bunch of these gorgeous felt fox present toppers!

Favourite crafty blogs: Number Three!

Poppytalk must be one of the longest running craft blogs on the internet - in fact, they've just celebrated their 10th anniversary with a special online magazine. Their "101 Awesome Weekend Projects to Bookmark" feature should keep you busy from now until Christmas...

Favourite crafty blogs: Number Four!

PS I Made This is perfect for dipping into when you fancy creating something but you're feeling short of inspiration. There are literally hundreds of projects on the site of varying levels of complexity and across a huge range of skills. Brilliant for passing the time during this horrendous so-called Summer weather. I also love the little mood/inspiration board images with each project.

Favourite crafty blogs: Number Five

First up in my daily countdown of my five favourite crafty blogs is the sister act blog A Beautiful Mess. Elsie and Emma share everything from craft ideas and recipes to their amazing room redesigns. They make me want to redecorate sooooooooo bad. Their craft ideas range from the simple (these gorgeous marbled clay pendants) to the slightly more labour intensive (I love this macrame yarn garland) but everything is within the abilities of your average crafty gal (or guy). I definitely also need to buy their photo idea book to get some fresh inspiration.

Floral inspiration

We went to Norfolk on our holibobs this year, and I got so much inspiration at the Holkham Hall walled gardens, both for my own garden and for my jewellery:

I can't wait to start making things this weekend! Keep an eye on the blog from tomorrow for my rundown of my five favourite crafty blogs for inspiration!

It's hump day!

(One of my colleagues thought that meant something rude...) It's downhill all the way to the weekend now! And just to keep you going, check out this gorgeous necklace - I think it's my favourite item in my shop!
Sticking with the geometric theme, how adorable is this flask from DotComGiftShop? I always forget to look there, but with my boyfriend's birthday coming up, I'm off to have a snoop now to see if there's any quirky gifts I can get him. he's a cycling fiend, so I'd love to see your bike-related Folksy and Etsy listings in the comments below.

Giving a country garden an urban twist

I'm desperate to do something interesting with my garden, and to give my inside spaces a bit of a greener feel. So I was really pleased when I stumbled upon these fibreglass planters with metallic finishes by The Chelsea Gardener. They're lightweight enough for me to use inside, but also frost-proof and can stay outside through winter (unlike my old cream metal planters, the bottoms of which fell out when I picked them up this Spring - the wet winter weather meant rust had completely eaten through them). Sadly at a shade under £250, I might have to save up for a while...

I'm also on the hunt for some geometric vases that I can plant with succulents and fill with spiky flowers to contrast with my very cottage-y style. I very much like these from Houseology (£61), which you can find at  

A bit more affordable is this gorgeous yellow number, from House of Fraser for £30:

And colours-wise, I think this Kelly Hoppen number, also £30, might be just about per…