DIY Halloween decor

Halloween orange & black paper garland

Halloween orange & black paper garland

Crafters around the world have been busy working on their Christmas stock for quite some time already – but hold up! We have Halloween to go first!

If you have enough time on your hands, it’s really easy to put together these simple ideas for a seasonally spooky home. I’ve been scouring the web for ideas and I think this list shows a great range of different styles to suit any house this Halloween:

tapehand

 

There are some fab easy makes on here – my favourite is the cardboard zombie barricade!

These pretty pumpkins are so simple. If you’re not a fan of carving, this one’s for you.

fancy-pumpkins

Loads of ideas here for a frighteningly good Halloween party for any age group! Pumpkin ice buckets, orange jack-o-lanterns and more. How about these ribs?

ribs

I hope these sites have given you some inspiration. Don’t forget to check out my seasonal page over on The Craft Fantastic etsy shop, featuring my handmade Halloween garlands and spooky fang charm notebooks.

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10 Things Only Hardcore Crafters Will Understand

Makers-gonna-make-tile

  • Your skin is mostly glue.

Remember when you were a kid and you used to let PVA dry on your hand then peel it off? This is your life now.

Glue hand

  • Accidentally drinking the paint water is an everyday hazard.

Paint water

‘Don’t drink the paint water’ mug by Doofery on Etsy.

  • You put down your tools and they immediately vanish, then magically reappear after you’ve torn your hair out looking for them for five minutes.

  • You move the furniture to clean and find little hoards of scrap paper/wool/material/string.

Material scraps

  • You take said scraps and ‘tidy’ them away. Because you NEVER KNOW when a 2cm x 1cm piece of material may come in handy.

Scrap project

  • You have a different pair of scissors for every possible material. Woe betide the person who uses the fabric scissors for paper.

Do you realize

  • Whenever you enter a craft store you feel like this:

Happy Dance

  • No matter how many supplies you have, there’s always something else you need.

I want more

 

  • Whenever Taylor Swift’s ‘Shake It Off’ comes on the radio, you hear this:

  • Finally, no matter what the problem, you know that Pinterest will have the answer.

Pinterest saviour

 

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Handmade Paper Goodness – First anniversary gifts

 

Origami paper flowers

There’s a different theme for every anniversary. I just Googled it to see. It’s CONFUSING. Who’d have thought? There seems to be UK/USA/traditional/modern…

Now, I’ve been married 5 years, and I’ve tried to get something appropriate for each year; and to be honest, I pick and mix from all the lists I’ve found. However it does seem that out of the various suggestions, paper is generally the winner for the first wedding anniversary.

It’s an easy one to do yourself. A couple of the easiest ideas would be:

  • Make a card! Handmade is lovely to receive, and if you’re ever going to do it, this is the occasion for it.
  • Write a letter! Everyone loves post, and a letter to your other half celebrating a year of marriage would make an amazing gift.

…and if you’re not up for that, then of course the lovely crafters of the world have got your back.

I put together this treasury on Etsy to give you same idea of what’s out there:

First anniversary treasury

If you don’t already know, paper is my main medium! And, as it happens, I’ve just launched a range of handmade first anniversary gifts over in my Etsy store. I’ve made origami coasters/vase mats, miniature hardback books with coloured pages and some paper bead necklaces. I’ll be adding to my collection over the next week or so – look out for more paper bead jewellery, origami flower keepsakes and more!

Ombre beads in box

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Argh! Panic! Last minute Father’s Day ideas

Father’s Day is Sunday 19th June – that’s THIS SUNDAY people – and if you haven’t got anything yet, there’s not much time left!

If you’re thinking of ordering something handmade made from Etsy or Folky, I’d say you’ve got until Wednesday 15th to guarantee delivery in time. And if you’re not sure what to get, never fear! The internet is here to help!

Any online store will have a search facility, and of course that’s the ideal place to start; but head on over to Esty and they have a Treasury section. This is where lovely Etsy members have done the hard work for you and hand picked a selection of relevant goodies. For example:

Father's Day treasury

You can also head over to Folksy and take a peek at their Father’s Day Gift Guide. I really like this Superhero Report:

Dad's Superhero report

This Beer Time key ring/bottle opener:

Beer Time

And this fancy schmancy Shaving Bowl:

Shaving Bowl

Last of all, what kind of craft business woman would I be if I didn’t plug my own shop a wee bit? I’ve got a range of compact hand-bound notebooks in my Etsy store, perfect for the back pocket of your dad’s jeans. My favourite is this one here which fastens using a pencil – so you’ve always got something to write with to hand:

Dad's pocket notebook

I hope that’s given you last-minuters some good ideas! And if you really leave it too late, take him out for ice cream 😀

 

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The Wedding Season – DIY finds and alternative ideas

Wedding sweet table

I love a handmade wedding, I really do –  and I know I’m not alone! So many people are now realising that they can contribute to their own weddings to make them unique and personal. The great thing is you can do as much or as little as you can; it’s still just as satisfying.

I’ve created a Pinterest board (how I wish it was around when I was planning my wedding!) full of wedding inspiration, ideas, tutorials, and, let’s be honest, stuff I just love the look of. I’ve also included some of my wedding items which you can find in my Etsy store, along with other great handmade items you can buy.

Here are a few of my faves from the board so far:

  • Wildflower confetti – make cones out of a sheet of paper and fill with pretty petals.

Petal confetti

  • Looking for musical inspiration? This book contains some great song suggestions, plus a few hints and tips on the big day. Includes a foreword from Rock ‘n’ Roll Bride’s very own Kat!

Wedding music book

  • Try your hand at making these gorgeous wedding favour lollies – get the tutorial here.

DIY wedding lollies

 

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!

 

Enjoy x

 

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Updates! Recent makes, stall bookings, latest Etsy stock

Lilac guest book spine

 

I’ve been busy making Coptic-bound notebooks lately – and they’re all up for sale in my Etsy store. All hand stitched, I’ve done an A6 one and a couple of A5 books; use them for what you will – notebooks, sketchbooks, guestbooks, journals – they’re all very versatile! Here’s a peek at the newbies:

As well as stock, I’ve been playing with my new origami paper – making these gorgeous gingham elephants!

Origami elephants

I’m thinking they’ll make lovely greetings cards – what do you reckon? What other things do you think I could use them for?

Last but not least – I’ve booked a summer fete for later in the year. It’s a local affair for a good cause; my stall fee went straight to the hosts Just Giving page for SWAN – syndromes without a name, supporting undiagnosed children. It’s on July 24th at The Elgar Centre in Northampton, more details on their Facebook page.

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Craft stall displays: DIY & inspiration

The late May bank holiday will be my first craft fair of the year, a two-day event set in the lovely Castle Ashby Gardens. I’ve got my stock, I’ve got my table cloth, I’ve got my usual little baskets and things I’ve always used to try and display my wares appealingly; but I feel it’s time for a change.

Flore stall 3

A rather flat notebook display!

Now I’m doing this full time, I really need to step up my game – I actually have time work on the appearance of my stall and I intend to make the most of it. First stop – Pinterest! Obviously. I mean, where else?

My main issue is height – I sell mainly notebooks and want to have them all stood up so you can see the covers or the spines at least. This would take up a lot of space, so I started searching for ideas for little shelves or boxes for my books to go in/on. Height is great for any stall display, creating a more focal point for the browser. Remember, they’ll be going past rows of stalls and if everything you have is laid down flat on the table, they may well just walk on by; you need to get something in people’s eye line.

So. What did I find?

  • Stack ’em up! Cute little crates:

Coloured crates

 

You can often pick these up as leftovers from market stalls/supermarkets, if you’re on a budget, and paint them up or leave them plain and rustic. Even one would create a great feature, and could be used to display things inside as well as on top for that extra level.

  • Vintage Suitcase:

Vintage suitcaseThis person has done a great job of using the suitcase to maximum effect, creating levels of different items. The little sign strung across the top will catch the customer’s eye! If using a suitcase, be sure to make sure the lid is sturdy and doesn’t flop back.

  • DIY display stand:

DIY stand

This blog post is a great tutorial on how to make your own display stand – with just a few everyday craft tools and some cardboard.

  • Stacked trays and candlesticks:

Stacked trays

The initial costs for this one may be a bit higher, but this tiered stand made from painted trays and candlesticks will really stand out! (Click here for a little how-to from the creator)

Want more? I’ve just created a board on Pinterest dedicated to craft stall inspiration. YAY! Here it is.

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New talent on etsy

Etsy

There’s so much talent online at the moment it can be a bit overwhelming when searching for handmade things. Making your brand stand out can be a real challenge, especially when you’re just starting out. Having opened my own etsy shop at the end of January, I know how hard it can be; so I thought it would be a nice idea to give a shout out to other people in the same situation!

Here, then, are a handful of recently opened etsy shops – show them some love and support! I got a huge response in my request to feature on here and couldn’t include everyone (much as I’d have liked to!), so at the bottom you’ll find a ‘further reading’ list 🙂

  • Homespun Wonders – this mother-and-daughter team create beautiful knitted, crocheted, felted and embroidered things. They have quite a range up there so grap  cup of tea and go take a look!
  • Rosie Freckles makes baby quilts and play mats as well as very pretty notice boards. I really like the whole look of this shop; the name and logo fits really well and compliments the range of products sold.
  • Wee Sleepy Bee Crafts is super cute. My favourite items are the kawaii puffy star charms. Oh and the mermaids. And the ponys! And… well, most things really.

Mermaids

  • The Crafty Red Button shop sells quality envelopes and letter sets – really unique and interesting! There are some sweet buttony items too 🙂
  • Slada Home does ‘pretty little things for your home’. And they certainly are. There are just a few things in stock at the moment but I can’t wait to see more!

Illustration

  • Ip Dip Design is home to fun, colourful prints sporting fun slogans like ‘When in doubt doodle it out’ and ‘Creative Cat Lady at work’ (yep, that’s me!). The lettering on these are superb, the layouts and designs original and fun. Keep up the good work!
  • Over at Makka Beads you’ll find some unusual and wonderfully detailed beaded delights. Clearly a lot of hard work goes into these creations.
  • Silvicultrix Shop has the start of what will clearly be a fantastic range of illustrations. The style is very personal and unique, and though there are only a few up at the moment, the style and quality of these means they’re sure to take off.

Dragonfly

  • Canvas Magic by Melanie creates beautiful hand-lettered canvases, wall art and more. Her style is really beautiful and she offers custom orders too!

And the rest… well worth checking out and sorry I didn’t have time to write about all of you… but crafting calls!

www.elistonbutton.etsy.com

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/byLiiL

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/KayeHTextiles

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/POGOandCo

https://www.etsy.com/shop/MADEtoPLAN

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/AtlanticRose

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/OlofsonSkincare

www.oscarblaiseart.etsy.com

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/HazImagination

www.biscuitandsusie.etsy.com

www.etsy.com/shop/ooodledoodle

penguinspaperchains.etsy.com

Www.littlebluegirlco.etsy.com

www.pixiesmagichook.etsy.com

Moongazerglass.etsy.com

www.DeborahBeckJewellery.etsy.com

http://etsy.me/1SkmKIW

https://www.etsy.com/ie/shop/matildasworld15

www.maggiebaggagemakes.etsy.com

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Handmade Wedding Guestbooks – now available!

Floral ribbon guest book - £18

Floral ribbon guest book – £18

Lately I’ve been working on my wedding stock and I’m pleased to announce that I’ve got the first handmade guest books up for sale on etsy!

These have both been covered in beautiful paper, with lovely open-view hand stitching and ribbon fastenings.

Wedding book pink heart ribbon

Guest book stitching

These ones are A5 and are £18 each – P&P is £2.50. You can order these ones from my etsy shop, or contact me directly for custom orders if you would like a particular colour/style.

 

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Beginner Bookbinding: Hints & Tips

There are many, many tutorials out there, covering all your beginner bookbinding needs; and so I thought I’d do a hints & tips section to complement them! These are things I’ve learned and picked up along the way.

  • Invest in a bone folder. This will be your new best friend.

Bonefolder love

  • You can use grease-proof paper for waxed paper. It’s very handy for pasting onto.
  • PVA is great while you’re learning. Proper book paste can be quite pricey, and when you’re just starting out PVA is absolutely fine for practice work.
  • Get a basic set of different size brushes. You can pick them up fairly cheap from places like The Works, and it’ll help you get a feel for what you need and what you feel comfortable with.
  • Always have a couple of pieces of clean kitchen roll to hand! It’s sturdier than tissue and less likely to shed little bits everywhere. It’s good for wiping down surfaces and hands and things. Keep a sheet separate for using on your books to avoid smearing.
  • It’s best to use waxed thread. If you can get a block of beeswax from somewhere, you can wax your own thread. This works out a bit cheaper and gives you more options.

Beeswax

  • Get into the habit of fraying the loose end of the thread after a knot. This will keep it from coming undone- I use my needle for this and just tease it gently.

As with everything, the internet is a wealth of information when it comes to bookbinding tutorials. Here are a few good ones:

Super simple all-in-one pamphlet book from My Handbound Books

5 hole pamphlet stitch from Design Sponge

Coptic stitch from Torta Gialla

Simple staple-and-glue hardback from Instructables

Good luck and happy binding!

Notebook 001

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