Off-cuts of off-cuts: Scrap leather makes (plus a brief catch up!)

Hands up if you can’t believe it’s nearly December! I’ve given myself a slap on the wrist for not posting since September; I’ve been juggling lots of new things and my brain has been full. Here’s a brief run down of what’s been going on aboard The Craft Fantastic:

  • Running Coffee.Cake.Create.

It’s been going since the end of August, running every Thursday at The Emporium at Nene Court. Everyone who’s been has had an amazing time, which is great! From next year, though, I’ll be scaling it down and changing it up, running it the last Thursday of every month, the odd weekend dates (to be announced!), plus adding the option to have your very own Coffee.Cake.Create party or event – starting with Christmas parties!

  • Helping out at The Emporium.

You can find me there every Monday, being shop girl! If you’ve never been, The Emporium is a marvellous shop just outside Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, that’s stocked with locally made, hand crafted products from over 40 different sellers. There’s also a licensed Harry Potter nook in the back!

Nene Court Emporium

  • Guesting on the Bonfire Banter podcast.

You can listen here: https://player.fm/series/bonfire-banter – Episode 11 features yours truly, talking bookbinding and more with hosts Matt and Dene.

Along side all this I’ve been working on what is the main subject of the post: finding ways to use up even more of the leather scraps and off-cuts left over from making books. As you may know, the leather I use for my notebooks and journals is either upcycled from old jackets and bags, or unwanted off-cuts. My most current batch of off-cuts came from a shoe factory, who were throwing out a LOAD of different leather scraps, some of them quite big! I do hate waste, and I already use some of my scraps to make mini books…

… and I’ve recently added bookmarks, which I love:

My latest acquisition of leather got me thinking what else I could make – I’ve got some bigger bits and now some scrappy little bits not big enough for the bookmark tabs. So I’ve got a bit off-piste and experimented making personalised keyrings and valet trays (The Internet tells me that’s the official name for them; I call them leather bowl-type things).

 

What do you think? For the trinket bowls, I’m doing ones that say ‘KEYS’ and ones that say ‘THINGAMABOBS’ – any other suggestions? What would you keep in them?

I’m hoping to showcase all this lovely new leather stuff at a local Christmas market, part of a series of ‘Moonlit Market’ events being held in a lovely sheltered courtyard off the Guildhall Road in Northampton town centre. More info here.

Like the look of the mini books and the bookmarks? You can find them in my Etsy shop. They make excellent gifts for book lovers. I’ll hopefully be adding the keyrings soon, but for now the leather bowl-type things will only be available at the Christmas market.

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Coffee.Cake.Create – a new crafting experience in Northamptonshire

Heads up, Northamptonshire! There’s a brand new craft experience in town. Every Thursday (10:30-15:00), the mezzanine floor of The Emporium at Nene Court is the home to Coffee.Cake.Create.

Coffee.Cake.Create

So, what’s it all about? Basically, it’s a regular event where you can turn up, make something and enjoy a delicious cake and a hot drink. There’s a menu for the crafts, with 4 to choose from and a variety of skill levels and project times. You’ll get everything you need to make your chosen project, use of tools and a handy set of instructions; but never fear, the resident craft captain (that’s me, by the way) will be on hand to help if you need it.

Nene Court Emporium

If you’ve never been to The Emprium, here’s the deal: it’s the home of handmade in Northamptonshire. Situated within Nene Court, the shop houses 30+ makers, artists and crafters in the downstairs area, while upstairs is a space where various workshops are held, as well as Coffee.Cake.Create.

Next door to the shop is the Garden Deli, a marvellous little cafe that has an outdoor space as well as a new expanded seating area right in The Emporium. This is where the delicious cakes and hot drinks come from for Coffee.Cake.Create; the price you pay for a project includes a drink (up to the value of £3) plus any piece of cake. So, once you’ve chosen and paid for your project at The Emporium, it’s just a few steps through to the Deli where you can order your items – they’ll then be brought up to you so you can sit back, relax and do your project in your own time.

It’s a great thing to do with a couple of friends, for some time out from your day, or to learn a new skill. You could even hold a Coffee.Cake.Create. party, hen do or event – it doesn’t have to be in the day time! Contact me for more info, or follow the link below. The menu is set for September (see below), with new crafts, specials and festive-themed makes coming later in the year. Hope to see you there one Thursday!

More info? Directions? Head to The Emporium Facebook page.

 

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Origami heart tutorial

A while back, I shared this tutorial for origami heart cards as part of a DIY wedding post – here it is again, on it’s own!

If you’re looking for something simple to make with inexpensive materials, I’ve got a tutorial here for you – origami heart cards. They’re very quick to fold once you get the hang of them, and can be used in various way. Hover over the pics in the gallery below for step-by-step instructions:

These would make nice simple (and cheap to post!) save the date memos:

P1040401

You could use these to decorate the tops of your favour boxes (simply glue together if you don’t want to use as a card):

Favour box decorationOr, use them for a place setting – or a place setting/box topper combined. You could even write a personal message on the inside:

Place setting

The nice thing about these is you don’t need to get special origami paper – you can even cut down bog standard printer paper into squares. This is great for getting the exact size you want – just experiment!

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Lunchtime Lusting: Stationery that isn’t stationery

Oh, I do love stationery. In fact I find myself drawn to anything that looks like stationery even if, like this lovely lot, it’s not actually stationery. It’s just one of those inexplicably joyful things. Here are my favourite not-stationery stationery items.

  • Crayola make up. Available from ASOS. I want it all, not so much to use, just to make a display with and admire. How pretty would a shelf full look?

              

  • Library card socks. If you’re a book lover then you need to check out The Literary Gift Company – all your future presents will now come from here. You’re welcome.

  • Pencil pin badges. There are too many to choose from and they’re all fabulous. Find your own favourite on Etsy; I myself am quite partial to this one, from the rainbow-loving IpDipDesign:

  • Bookcase wallpaper. There’s a lot of book shelf wall paper & murals about at the moment, but I think this natural one from Wall Sauce is my favourite. Also, the company is called Wall Sauce. They do a good range, including ‘secret bookcase door’ and ‘bookcase & candles’.

  • Book lunch box. Even though I work from home, I want this lunch box from black + blum. It has a partition. It’s ACE.

Hope you enjoyed this post, stationery fans!

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Stationery addicts unite! National Stationery Week 2018

It seems that there’s a ‘National Day’ or ‘National Week’ for EVERYTHING these days. But when it’s stationery I can get on board! National Stationery Week is, of course, all about stationery; from things to write with to things to write on and alongside this the #writingmatters campaign. This year it runs from April 23rd – 29th. You can find out all about it here. Don’t forget to use the hashtags #natstatweek and #writingmatters.

Being a stationery addict myself, I’m all for promoting the importance of writing by hand. Check out some of the reasons why in this article; it’s targeted at students but can be applied to everyone: “The act of writing itself can reduce stress”, it says, and I wholeheartedly agree. It’s a great way to switch off from what’s going on around you and focus on yourself.

I’ve recently added a new product to my Etsy shop that makes for a fun way to get back into writing – this hand bound ‘Luxe lists’ book! It’s full of hand written prompts for different lists, plus blank lined paper at the back so you can come up with your own lists. It’s great for focusing your attention and getting your brain going.

Happy writing!

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New week, new skills: Origami butterfly tutorial

This pretty origami butterfly doesn’t have many steps to it, but it can be quite tricky to get right first time. This picture tutorial will guide you through the process.

First of all, you’ll be creasing some guideline folds. Start with the square of paper sat so it looks like a diamond:

Fold in half top to bottom (point to point), crease and unfold; then do the same in the other direction, folding one side point to the other then opening up.

    

Turn the paper over and position it so it’s square in front of you:

You’ll be folding the paper in half again, top to bottom then side to side. Do one fold at a time and crease firmly before opening up:

    

Ok, now that’s done – tricky step number 1! With the creases you’ve made, the square should collapse down into a triangle. Pick the paper up with your thumb at the middle of one edge, like this:

You can see that the horizontal crease is going down, while the diagonal ones are popping up; just encourage this to happen! The centre should come up in a point while the sides fold in on themselves:

Lay this triangle down so the long edge is at the top and go over the creases. It should look like this:

You’ll notice there’s now a top layer and a bottom layer – for this next bit, we’re working with the top layer only. In turn, take each of the top corner points and fold the down to meet the bottom point in the middle:

    

Crease these folds well, then turn the model over:

Right – tricky step number 2. See that point at the bottom? The top layer? You need to bring that up towards the middle of the top edge, so it overlaps a bit:

The two flaps underneath will pull round a bit; that’s fine, just let them come along. It’ll probably be easier if you pick the model up now. So, take that bottom point up past the top edge a little and fold it over, turning the whole thing over again at the end and firmly crease the fold so it stays in place:

        

You may find you need a spot of glue to keep that last fold in place.

All that’s left to do is fold the wings up. You’ll sort of be folding it in half, which may feel a little odd, but once you’ve got going you should see how it’ll bring the wings up to stand out. Push down in the middle with one finger and bring the wings up on either side, pressing that middle bit together:

    

    

That’s it! The more you fold this butterfly, the easier it will become.

Happy folding! x

 

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Lunchtime Lusting – Spring Stationery

Hey stationery fans! Thinking about spring-cleaning your desk/hoard? Then you’ll need some shiny new products. I’ve been searching the internet for the best new stationery for the new season.

High Street Finds

Over the past few years, high street shops have upped their game in the fun stationery stakes. Unicorns everywhere. EVERYWHERE. Which is fine, because who doesn’t love a unicorn? I’m starting off in Paperchase with the all important storage.

Look at all those compartments 😍😍 For £10 you get a pretty home for sooooo many pens and pencils. If you don’t have desk space for something this size, you’re going to need an epic pencil case. WHSmith has the answer.

Squee! Bit too ott for you? They have plenty of subtler options to suit.

Ok, time for the filling!

£12 for a set of 12 coloured pencils (Paperchase), with a different mood or emotion stamped on the bottom, associated with that particular colour. You even get a little booklet on the psychology of colour.

For perfectly pretty pastel pens, head to John Lewis and check out the kikki.K range.

 

Marvellous, if you simple HAVE TO peruse your stationery in real life; but this brand has a pretty awesome website – trust me, you’ll love it. And with that, let’s head online for the…

Best of the Web (OK, Etsy)

As always, I began my search over on Etsy, and to be honest after much searching elsewhere, I headed back and stayed there. Being a maker and seller myself, I know how much hard work people put into their creations and love to buy handmade. If you weren’t aware, you can now purchase as a guest, so you don’t have to sign up for an account. Huzzah! You’ll have to click the links to see these beauties.

Is that enough to keep you going? I hope so! Don’t forget, you can head over to The Craft Fantastic Etsy shop for hand bound notebook and journals to go with all your new stuff.

 

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2018: Workshops & Wedding Fairs

Happy 2018! I hope you all had a fantastic festive season. I certainly did; despite being thwarted by the weather a couple of times, we managed to get all the family visits in.

For the past week I’ve been getting The Craft Fantastic HQ sorted for the year ahead, plus writing lots of lovely lists and plans. So, what will I be up to? Well, this year, along with maintaining my etsy shop, I’ll be focusing on weddings.

Large origami bouquet

Turquoise & music paper bouquet – £45

I’ve got 3 wedding fairs lined up for all you brides and grooms looking for something a bit different for your wedding flowers:

  • Abington Park Museum (NN1 5LW), Sunday March 4th, 11:00 – 14:00. This beautiful building has only quite recently been licensed for marriages, so it’s the perfect opportunity to take a look.
  • Grendon Lakes (NN7 1JW), Sunday April 15th, 11:00 – 14:00. A fabulous marquee wedding fair in a gorgeous setting.
  • Rock Your Wedding Fair, Old White Hart (NN4 8BS), Sunday May 20th, 11:00 – 15:00. Northampton’s first alternative wedding fair! I cannot WAIT for this one.

If you’re looking to book wedding flowers for this year, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. I’m happy to go through options and prices; I know how expensive weddings can be and try to offer something to suit every budget. Email me at ahoythere@thecraftfantastic.co.uk or use the form on the contact page.

Alongside weddings, I’ll be doing some craft workshops. This is something I’ve been planning for a while and have done a couple of test runs on small groups to see what works and what doesn’t. I can offer simple, mess-free paper folding or something more full-on involving pots of glue!

Happy workers!

I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be running a papercraft and origami workshop at the lovely Bay Tree Cottage in Towcester, Northamptonshire. This will be a full-on evening, where you’ll get to try your hand at a few different things, including gift tags, coasters and flowers. This is an evening class and includes a light supper. It will be held on Wednesday May 2nd – find all the details you need to book here.

If you’d like to book me for a workshop at your event space, please email me for details – ahoythere@thecraftfantastic.co.uk.

 

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christmas Christmas CHRISTMAS! The run-down to the run-up.

Well, that’s it for another year in terms of fairs. I’ve now attended the last of the craft and wedding events for 2017. However, I’ve already got things in the pipeline for 2018, including alternative wedding fairs and papercraft workshops – watch this blog for details! You can also follow me on Facebook for up to date info on future events.

Right now I’m winding things down a bit. My Etsy shop is fully stocked with a wide array of notebooks & journals, book necklaces, and handmade Christmas decorations so it’s time to wind down a bit, look back over the past year and sort things out in readiness for the year ahead.

I count 2017 as my first full year of business aboard The Craft Fantastic. While I set up properly at the start of 2016, that year was spent getting things off the ground. I’ve been really pleased with how the year has gone, taking bookings for an awesome range of weddings, producing custom orders, developing new product ideas and taking part in local craft and wedding fairs. Phew! I’m so grateful to everyone who’s supported me this year and for every single purchase, no matter how small.

During the run up to Christmas I am of course still taking orders via Etsy but you can also contact me here for queries on wedding flowers and custom orders. My last UK posting date is December 18th; if you order after this date, your order will still be processed, but it might not make it before Christmas.

To finish off, here are a few of my favourite makes from 2017!

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Autumn aboard The Craft Fantastic – new Etsy additions & upcoming fairs

As the year rolls into autumn, I thought it was about time to talk about the latest happenings here at HQ.

I’ve been busy working on some new ideas (sometimes this involved sitting in my craft room staring at piles of paper and scraps of material). A while back I got a set for stamping letters into leather, so I’ve been using that to create some mini books. This is my favourite – with ‘OFF WE GO’ stamped on the cover and the inside pages made from an old French road map. It’s one-of-a-kind!

I’ve also got a few blank mini covers, so personalised book necklaces are up for grabs. Had to make myself one to practise, of course!

You can find these minis and more in The Craft Fantastic Etsy shop.

Now, onto upcoming fairs. It is getting towards the end of the year and my next craft fair will be a *whispers* Christmas stall. I’m very pleased to announce that I’ll be exhibiting at the wonderful MK Handmade & Vintage Fair, which is held in the middle of Milton Keynes shopping centre. It’s always full of amazing stalls, so if you’re looking for something a bit different then this is the place to do your festive shopping.

As well as my usual stock of notebooks, book necklaces and other papercraft items, I’ll be making up some origami flower sets for Christmas displays and centrepieces, plus there’ll be a selection of origami and paper tree decorations. Here’s a sneak peek!

Hope to see you there! Don’t forget, you can shop for all my products on Etsy or you can email me if you’d like to talk about a custom order.

If you’re in the Northampton area, I also have a stall on December 2nd in Great Brington. It’s a lovely intamate affair with a good selection of quality local makers – and there’ll be cake! More info here.

 

 

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