Northampton Christmas Sparkle Fair

This fabulous event is ticket only and y’all will want to book up and get the date in your diaries, I’m sure. Yes, it’s the Northampton Christmas Sparkle Fair and it’s only just over 3 weeks away!

Northampton Christmas Sparkle Fair

There are going to be loads of fabulous stalls there, music, food, festivities… and of course handmade goodies from The Craft Fantastic! I’ll be there with a stall full of festive paper creations, including gift tags, decorations, and present ideas. Please come and see me on November 29th!

 

Tickets are only £2.50 adult, £1.50 child and are available here.

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Origami paper wedding bouquets

It’s been a while since I’ve updated my progress on the handmade goodies I’ve been working on for my friend’s wedding. I’ve lost count of the number of kusudama flowers I’ve made, but it’s well over 100! Things are nearly finished, though; buttonholes are all done and delivered, bouquets so very near. At the weekend I fully completed one of the bridesmaid bouquets – what do you think?

Bridesmaid bouquet

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Origami kusudama flowers

These beautiful flowers are quite simple to make – a little time-consuming but well worth the effort. I’ve made a couple before, just because they’re so pretty, but a good friend of mine recently got engaged (whoop!) and wants a lot of things to be handmade, so I have been enlisted to help out! I’ll be making lots of paper flowers: one bridal bouquet, six bridesmaid bouquets, six buttonholes and maybe a wrist corsage or two! Oh, and being queen of notebook making, I’ll be doing the wedding guest book, too. I’m looking forward to the challenge enormously and have been practising making these origami kusudama flowers. Here’s what I’ve done so far:

Kusudama flower 1

Kusudama 2

Kusudama flowers

Happy with my progress so far! Updates to follow.

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Online Craft Supplies – 6 Sites To Try

While there are many craft stores of all shapes and sizes littered around the UK, you can’t always get to them when you need to, or find exactly what you’re looking for. And though I do love the thought that everyone shops locally in unique little boutiques, I know this isn’t always feasible. Thankfully, there are some online sites out there that stock everything your crafty heart desires. From chain brands to independent store sites, these are, in no particular order, my top picks.


 

A lot of Paperchase shops can be quite small, full of fun looking pencils and stocked with greetings cards. But venture to the 3-storey epic that is the Tottenham Court Road store in London and you’ll see just how much this chain can offer. You can find a good range of art and craft supplies on their website, too, which is good news for anyone who only has access to one of their smaller shops.

Best for: Paper and card stock, stationery


 

One of the most well-known chains I should think, but they certainly do have a good range of supplies. You can find pretty much anything you need to start your craft project, plus the site offers lots of hints, tips and tutorials.

Best for: Starting out and stocking up


 

I highly recommend following the link and checking out this store for yourself. It’s a beautiful looking site which gives you the history of how the physical store (located in Manchester) started up, waaay back in 1886. It’s a passionate, experienced and knowledgeable company that offers supplies for some of the more uncommon crafts.

Best for: Cane work supplies


 

Yep, that’s right – not only can you sell all the wonderful things you’ve made via Folksy, you can get supplies on there too! There’s a plentiful hoard of makers who are selling craft supplies via Folksy – often handmade. You can get buttons, beads, tags, yarn and charms, among other things.

Best for: Unique items


 

This is a site I found while trying to source some inexpensive book cloth, when I was first testing out making hardbacks. They have a really good range and cover the basic supplies you’d need for a really wide range of crafts, from candle making to jewellery to modelling and pottery. They also have a decent ‘inspiration’ section and a place where you can share what you’ve made with other crafters.

Best for: Bargains and deals on delivery


 

Oh, how I mourn the fact that this lovely shop moved! I used to be able to walk to it in my lunch break, but now it’s located near Victoria it’s just too far to trek. So it’s a really good job their online store is so well stocked. The prices are a little higher than your bulk-buy sites, but the standard of the products is superb and it is most definitely worth the extra cost.

Best for: Bookbinding supplies and quality paper

 

 

 

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Giant origami – first attempt!

Following on from last week’s post on origami and art (yes! I actually followed up :D) I decided to have a go at some larger origami models. I have a few old rolls of wall paper which I thought would be ideal for this, as the paper is thick and sturdy; note for future reference though, take time in cutting as precise a square as possible.

Giant origami sheet

Starting with something I’d made before seemed like the best plan, so I folded a Kabuto (Samurai helmet):

Large origami Samurai helmet

Large origami Samurai helmet

Then transformed it into a goldfish!

Origami big goldfishNot quite sure what I’ll do with this chap now but I’m sure I’ll think of something! It’s definitely inspired me to try more.

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Weekly Inspiration – Origami as Art

It is said that origami (from the Japanese ‘ori’ (folding) and ‘kami’ (paper)) is the art of folding paper. Without getting too philosophical, does that make all origami art?!

Well, no, but some of it certainly ticks that box. Personally I like making things that either look pretty or are functional (flowers, hearts, boxes – the usual, in fact); while other people have actually challenged themselves. Go them! Note to self: challenge accepted.

Of course there are some really great articles to be found already on this subject- see here for one such article from the Huffington Post.

Here, though are my favourite finds and inspirations from the wonderful world wide web.

This awesome Parisian street ‘graffiti’:

Origami Street Art Graffiti

This cosmic 3D project, using folded paper, tape and lights:

3d-origami-art

This epic elephant, folded by Sipho Mabona (with a little help!) from a specially-made single sheet of paper:

origami-sculpture elephant

This totally fabulous dress:

Origami dress

And finally this great example of jewellery from the linen cat:

Origami necklace

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New Notebook – hand stitched spine with key closure

Finished this beauty recently! Handmade from sketchbook paper with an up-cycled leather-look cover (used to be a handbag), fancy hand stitching on the spine and a key closer attached with a suede cord that goes into a place holder inside.

Work in progress 1

Work in progress 2

Hand stitched spine

Key closure

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Top 10 Stationery Essentials

If you’re reading this then it’s likely to assume you love stationery – and you may already be aware that this week it has been National Stationery Week. It really has. I ran out of stock of my handmade Coptic-bound sketch books on Notebook day, of all days!!

Depending on your needs, there are a massive range of stationery products on the market, but here I’ve outlined what I think are the essentials.

  •  Pen. A good pen, for writing or for drawing. I love a fountain pen for handwritten letters, biros for crosswords; but my favourite all-rounder has to be the Mitsubishi uni-ball eye. Smooth writing, waterproof, fade-proof, comes in various colours.

Mitsubishi-Uni-Ball-Eye

 

  • Pencil. A decent pencil is indispensable! And with it you need the following:
  • Eraser – often the one you get on top of the pencil is absolutely PANTS. So invest in something soft and non-smudgy, that doesn’t tear the paper!
  • Sharpener. To keep your pencil happy. I quite like this one: double hole, a home for the shavings and a lid so they don’t spill out.
  • Notebook. Sketch book/journal/jotter – whatever you call it, you need somewhere to write and draw your ideas, plans and thoughts. Handmade books are my specialty, so here are some examples of my work:

Mini coptic 1Grey mini booksMini map openKey hardback      A4 books      Notebook stack

  • Ruler – this needs to be sturdy and long lasting. Metal ones are great for craft work.
  • Paperclips. Handy for when you don’t want to staple things! The more fun shaped, the better. Paperchase and (perhaps surprisingly) Ikea do some great ones.

Ikea paper clips

  • Stapler. For when you want to permanently paper-clip something together.
  • Hole-punch. For those of us who like to print things and put them in files 🙂
  • Post-its. Other makes of sticky note labels are available! Sometimes you just need to stick a note on something. Perfect for reminders.
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National Stationery Week 2015

It’s back, baby! It’s back and it’s SOONER THAN I REALIZED.

NSW - GBW 2015 (sponsors horiz’)

NSW 2013 with date and website and partners (no website)

Also, part of the National Stationery Week deal this year is ‘7 Days Of Stationery’ – and guess what? Thursday is notebook day!! Woo!

7 Days of Stationery

That is just all kinds of awesome. And… freeze-frame jump for joy!

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Pom pom flower bouquet

Success! Using some pretty light coloured wool, my pom pom maker and some dried-out raspberry canes:

Pom pom flowers

That’s two of my Pinterest Picks that I’ve actually tried out so far. One to go!

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