Hi 👋🏻 Thought I’d do a quick little re-introduction for anyway finding me for the first time.
Firstly, thanks so much for being here! I’m Jenni, Captain of The Craft Fantastic; I run a small business from my home in Northampton making journals, notebooks, stationery cases and bookish things by hand – often using leather rescued from shoe factories and furniture.
An update about my local stockists:
I’ll no longer be selling at The Emporium in Wellingborough.
You can still shop my range at Margo & Evie and the gift shop at Northampton Shoe Museum…
Plus, you can currently find me in a pop-up space at Love Local Hub in Centre MK!
Don’t live in the Northamptonshire area? Don’t worry; you can find me on Etsy.
Dates for your diary:
Sun 17th September – Made in Northants fair at Northampton Active, Bedford Road, 11am-3pm
Sat 25th November – Meet The Makers Merry Market at St Matthew’s Church Rooms, Northampton, 11am-5pm
⭐️ COMING SOON ⭐️ Part 2 of using your handmade journals. Next up I’ll be looking at using colour 🌈
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:
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
Wedding season 2017 is in full swing! The Craft Fantastic HQ is full of origami bouquets and paper flowers. I’ve been hard at work over the last couple of months finishing orders – and I’m still going! This is my first full year doing weddings and I’m loving it; my brides are really creative and it’s so much fun putting together their perfect flowers for the big day. Here are some sneak peeks!
I’m pretty much fully booked for summer 2017 – just taking small commissions – but there are spaces for autumn/winter and of course 2018! You can find The Craft Fantastic at the upcoming wedding fair at the Double Tree Hotel, Stadium MK.
If you’re not sure whether paper flowers are for you, this will give you a chance to take a look at the bouquets in real life. You’ll be able to try out the different sizes, view the matching buttonhole options and see what you think of the new range of headdresses. There’ll be pomanders and wands for flower girls, small posies and large bunches, table decorations and garlands.
As always, I’ll have a range of hand bound guest books to choose from, all of which can be personalised. There’ll be a good selection that can be purchased on the day.
Hopefully I’ll see you at the Milton Keynes Wedding Show, Sunday 2nd July!
A 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:
Ahoy there! December 3rd is small business Saturday and I’m running a little pre-Christmas promo: 10% off at thecraftfantastic.etsy.com. Find festive home decor, gift wrap, stocking fillers and more!
I’ve been busy with fairs for the past couple of weekends, but now I’m done for the year. My best fair was a small Christmas coffee morning in Great Brington; a lovely collection of quality makers and lots of customers!
Currently, I’m working on keeping my Etsy shop stocked in the run up to Christmas. My newest makes are up there, these beautiful cherry blossom A6 notebooks:
As well as these, I’m trying out some of my slogan notebooks. I’ve sold my prototype ‘GOOD IDEAS’ notebook, but plan to make more of the same, plus some personalised versions:
Etsy store aside, I’ve started planning for 2017! I’ll have a full plan in the New Year; look out for my post with dates of fairs, promotions and events.
This weekend, The Craft Fantastic will be among a huge array of stalls at the autumn wedding show in Milton Keynes, ready to help make your wedding dreams a reality. Come along to Middleton Hall in The Centre MK and see what’s on offer!
I’ll be taking orders for handmade origami wedding flowers as well as having a range of extras available, such as hand-bound guestbooks, origami garlands, and bridesmaid gifts.
The show opens Friday 14th at 9:30, and closes at 17:00 Sunday 16th. Full details can be found on the event organisers site here, or The Centre MK site here.
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!
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.
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.
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:
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.
This 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:
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:
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.