Latest makes, upcoming fair

Origami bouquet

Lately, I’ve been working on a few wedding commissions. The Craft Fantastic HQ is full of paper flowers! Buttonholes, bouquets and loose origami flowers galore. Today I’m going to be boxing up a brides bouquet in red, cream and black with black and white comic book paper flowers. It looks so effective and I can’t wait for the bride to see it!

There have been a few new additions to my Etsy shop too. Here’s a selection:

In other news, The Craft Fantastic will have a stall at the Castle Ashby craft fair late May bank holiday – Sunday 28th & Monday 29th. There’s a £7 entry fee to get in, but this includes entry to the beautiful gardens as well as the menagerie (which has meerkats. Meerkats!). There’ll also be a falconry display, a  carousel and lots of other bits and pieces for the whole family – along with an amazing array of designers and makers. I’ll be crossing my fingers and toes for nice weather, but all the stalls are under cover so come along whatever the weather!

Craft Fantastic stall display

 

 

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Origami floral headdresses

Origami flower crown

NEW RANGE ALERT! Just in time for both wedding season and festival season, The Craft Fantastic is pleased to announce the launch of handmade origami floral headdresses, flower crowns, headpieces, head wraps – call them what you will, they’re all gorgeous! Perfect for brides or bridesmaids, festivals or garden parties. Each one is handmade from different paper and attached to a wire base, which is covered in floral tape. They come either with a ribbon tie at the back, or the wire ends can simply be wound together to fasten.

There are a few made up and ready to ship over on etsy (see pictures below) but I can make up custom orders to your specifications. Basically, start with a base unit and decide what flowers, leaves, feathers etc. you want! Here’s a run-down on the prices:

Base unit (with or without ribbon) = £2

Origami flower = £2 (including gem/bead in centre)

Leaf/feather = £0.50

So for example, a headdress with a cluster of 3 flowers and a feather will be £8.50.

Origami flower headdressPaper flower headdressMusic paper flower headdressOrigami flower crownHeaddress back viewPastel paper flower headdress

I have a wide range of different papers in stock, so feel free to get in touch if you’d like something particular. I have an abundance of music paper and book paper, a lot of pastels, and quite a few sheets of various patterned origami paper.

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Craft business marketing: What I’ve learned so far

It can be tough to figure out how to do marketing by and for yourself. When you’ve just set up your craft business, you’re most likely to be focused on designing and making. You know you need to get your products out there, but how do you do it? What’s the best approach? How much time should you spend doing it?

I don’t think I’m any kind of expert. I’m definitely still learning, and lots of things I’ve learned I’ve yet to put into practice – BUT! – I have attended a few webinars and made lots of notes. So, here are a few things I’ve picked up along the way.

  • You may have heard people talking about SMART goals. What’s a SMART goal? Not making stupid goals is a given, right? SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound. Basically, think about your goals carefully, plan them well and give yourself a time frame. Make an overall goal and break it down to make it manageable.

 

  • Looks are important! Think about your brand image. Make it consistent across all platforms. Think about the feel of your business and what kind of customers you’re trying to attract. People will connect if they see something that looks ‘them’. One tip I picked up is to create private boards on Pinterest where you can build a picture of your ideal client. You’ll probably need more than one! Here’s a shot of one of mine, for my hand-bound notebooks. I tried to think what kind of person would buy them, what they’d be into, the type of clothes they’d wear and how their house might look.

 

  • One webinar I attended said to spend 40% of your time on marketing. Sounds like a lot, right? But if you set aside just 1 hour a day, you’re on the right track.

 

  • Social media platforms are all different – don’t use them in the same way! Using Twitter/Instagram etc. are easy, free and effective ways of getting yourself out there. But you have to look at how and if they will work for you. Think about what they’re used for and how you yourself would use them. Twitter? Fast moving, good for networking. Instagram? Visual, creative and personal. Pinterest? Use it like a search engine!

I hope this has been useful! I think networking with other like-minded people and people who are in the same position is important, so feel free to get in touch – I’m on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook & Pinterest 🙂

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Friday Folding: Simple origami tulip tutorial

Spring is just around the corner – even if it doesn’t feel like it. Storm Doris may have blown over but it’s still quite chilly out there, so stay in, get cosy, grab some paper and get folding!

These origami tulip flowers are simple and fun. Make them out of bright colourful paper to distract from the gloom outside. They’re great for putting on the front of handmade cards.

You’ll need:

  • 2 squares of coloured paper (1 for the flower, 1 for the stem)
  • Scissors
  • A flat surface to fold on
  • Something to crease your folds (the handle of your scissors or a thumb nail will do!)

1. Start with the sheet you want to use for the flower, colour-side down:

2. The first fold is across the middle (along the dotted black line). Take the bottom corner up to meet the top corner and crease well along the fold.

3. You should have a triangle – make a crease down the middle by bringing one of the bottom corners over to meet the other, then unfold.

4. Fold the bottom corners up to make the petals – roughly along the line shown, making sure not to fold it right up to the central line – then repeat on the other side.

5. Almost finished the flower! You just need to fold the outside corners behind, as shown here:

6. Ok, on to the leaf/stem. You’ll just need a triangular half of your square for this, so crease down the middle corner to corner and chop.

7. Start with the triangle colour side down, as below. Fold the top short edge over to meet the long edge.

8. Next, fold the bottom short edge to meet the long edge.

9. Crease both these folds well. It should end up look like the picture below.

10. Finally, fold across the middle, taking the bottom point upwards, so you end up with two points and a flat bottom, like this:

11. Now all you need to do is add the flower!

TA-DA! I hope you enjoyed this origami tulip tutorial.

 

 

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Guiwenneth and The Craft Fantastic

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll notice my handle is @Guiwenneth – in fact, I’ve used it quite a bit for various things. So where did it come from and what does it have to do with The Craft Fantastic?

 

The name Guiwenneth comes from a book – of course it does! It’s taken from the ‘Mythago Wood’ series by Robert Holdstock. It’s all fantasy and forests and mythology and I’m not saying anything else; you’ll just have to read the books! Anyway, when I was thinking about my business, coming up with a brand, doodling logos, I named the mermaid I designed Guiwenneth. You should be able to see her, bobbing about at the top of my site. I guess you could say she’s my co-captain, as she was designed alongside my main logo of the little ship:

The Craft Fantastic – and intentional pun on the word craft. I loved the thought of my business being a new enterprise, setting off on an adventure into uncharted waters, so the name seemed to fit well. I’ve since designed a simpler anchor logo that works much better for my Etsy store, but I can’t ever get rid of the original boat – or indeed Guiwenneth, which is a good job as she’s tattooed on my ankle!

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Lunchtime Lusting – Valentine’s Day: To give and to get

Because it’s ok to hint, right? With Valentine’s Day drawing near, I’ve put together a little list of some of my favourite unique, handmade and alternative gifts – to give and to get!

‘Chocolate bar library’ from Fortnum & Mason, £5.50 each. What more would anyone want? Well, how about:

It’s £3 from the Literary Emporium. In fact, you could just point your other half to their site. All of it, please.

  • Are you told old to get soft toys? Are you, though? Really? What about… Robot plushies:

Well I’m in love. This little guy is from an American Etsy store, but they do ship to the UK. Hurrah!

This versatile little dish could be used for so many things: jewellery, keys, food… it’s microwave and dishwasher safe and £10 from Present Indicative.

  • Roses? Sure. But be original and get some that can be a keepsake, like these origami roses from yours truly:

These are £10 from The Craft Fantastic Etsy store – vase included! They’re also available in ‘pretty pastel hues.

 

Remember to leave enough time for your handmade gifts to arrive! The cut off date for The Craft Fantastic is midnight, Thursday 9th Feb for guaranteed delivery.

 

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Lunchtime Lusting – Letter Writing: The joy of snail mail

There’s nothing quite like getting a handwritten letter through the post. They seem so much more personal; reaching out and staying in touch through putting pen to paper, we think more about what we’re going to say than when we email or text. It really helps to have something nice to write on and send your letter off in, so I’ve been looking around to see what letter writing sets are out there. Here’s what I’ve found.

One of the main reasons I love this one is because it comes in a gorgeous box. It’s simple but extremely pretty. Containing 20 A5 sheets and 10 envelopes, you can pick one of these up for £8.

This set from Not On The High Street boasts a retro pen and ink pot design. It’s £6.95 for 6 sheets of writing paper and 3 envelopes.

There’s almost bound to be a WHSmith on your high street, so you can be sure of being able to find a pretty stationery set in town! They don’t have a huge amount of choice, but this bird and flower adorned set is all you’ll need. It’s a great budget option at £5.99 for 30 sheets, 15 matching envelopes and a sheet of stickers. Stickers!!

Over on Etsy you can find The Crafty Red Button. With so many pretty sets to choose from, you’re bound to find something to suit and inspire you to get writing! This set with the blue envelops is my personal favourite; the colour and design is gorgeous. The lined envelopes are handmade and the paper is high quality –  120gsm – so no pen bleed through to the other side of the paper. This set is £13 for 6 sheets of A5 and 6 envelopes, which come in a beautiful box.

What are you waiting for? Get yourself a set, grab a pen and write someone a letter! It’ll be just as much fun to write as it will be to receive.

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An introduction to bullet journals

Hand bound good ideas notebook

If there’s such thing as a natural bullet journaler, I am one. Long have I been a lover of lists; a maker of orginised notes; an extravagant underliner; a margin doodler.

What is a bullet journal? Well, it’s pretty much whatever you want to make it. Start with a notebook, something to write with, and get creative. A completely blank notebook is my personal favourite, as it’s the most versatile; however some people prefer gridded or lined paper.

Leather spine key bullet journal

Though it may have started that way, it’s actually not just lists of bullet points. There’s a trend for people using notebooks to create a personal space for them to write and draw and catalogue. Layouts and doodles. Headers, banners and frames. The best thing to do is to try a few things out – just get going and you’ll soon get a feel for how you want to go and what you’ll use your journal for. A few bullet-pointed lists and a few doodles to go with them. Take inspiration, but have a go at making your own systems so that they work for you. What to put in it? Lists, logs, plans, charts, dreams, goals… I actually started with a list of the lists I wanted to make.

Bullet Journal list of lists

Leaving enough space for bigger projects is essential, so think about what you need in advance. A new one for me this year is a garden plan; I’ve laid it out so that I’ve got space for each month, and within that month space for a list of jobs that need doing and things that need planting. I’ve a small garden, so I didn’t need a huge amount of space:

Bullet Journal garden plan

 What else is there? Pens? There are so many! Sharpies are good for bold, solid lives. Stabilo fineliners are my favourites for a wide choice of colours and a slim line. And the Uniball Eye in black is the best I’ve found for your everyday black pen.

Stabilo set

As for blank notebooks, head on over to my etsy store to browse handmade notebooks, sketchbooks or journals in a selection of covers and sizes – there’s bound to be something to fit your bullet journal needs, and if not, email me for a custom order!

Blue floral coptic main

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New year, new events

from-the-craft-fantasticA slightly belated Happy New Year! I hope you all had a fabulous festive season. Craft Fantastic HQ is all go for 2017, with new products and new fairs. Here are just a few things in store for this year:

mkhandmadeandvintage

 

This will be my first time exhibiting at one of these events. They’re hugely popular and always full of fantastic handmade goodies and vintage finds. I can’t wait!

For the second year running, The Craft Fantastic will be at Castle Ashby. Crossing my fingers the weather will be as good as last year.

Brand new for 2017 are more origami gifts. I’ve framed ‘Lover’s Knots’ – perfect for a Valentine’s Day or 1st anniversary gift. Alongside the frame is a small, simple paper flower arrangement.

Handmade origami gift

I’m in the process of adding them to The Craft Fantastic Etsy store. These are available in different colours, and I can do custom orders – email me for details.

 

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Season’s Greetings

etsy-holiday-banner

 

 

I’m away from home for the festive season, so will be unable to post anything out – however I’m still here to answer any queries you may have. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all my wonderful customers!

cf-mini-logo-2

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